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September, 2015 Archive

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Published at Wednesday, September 30th 2015, 22:31:55 PM by shelby. Door Matts. AUTOMATIC DOOR INJURIES - High and Low Energy Automatic Doors HIGH & LOW ENERGY DOOR SYSTEMS - WHAT MAKES THEM DIFFERENT? Automatic doors are generally grouped into two major categories. Low energy and high energy doors. The difference between the two types of doors pertain to the ways that the doorways operate. LOW ENERGY DOORS Low energy doors are often thought of as "handicap accessible automatic doorways". These doorways usually have signage showing the universal symbols that are understood as wheelchair accessible openings. In most installations, low energy door systems are either swinging or sliding doors. They are predominantly activated by a "knowing act" on the part of the doorway user. A button or push plate is used to activate the door operating mechanism. A person wishing to enter the doorway must push the button to start the door opening function. The low energy requirement of these doorways pertains to the forces exerted by the moving door through all aspects of the opening and closing cycle. Some of the low energy door systems are strictly power assisted door openers. In their most basic form, these doors use motor controls to push or pull open a door. After reaching the fully opened position a basic timer will keep the door open for a specific set time. This allows a person in a wheel chair access without having to push or pull open the door in front of their path of travel. When the timer has counted down, the door will close, and cannot be reactivated to reopen without another push of the button. Every low energy door system must operate slowly and with minimal force upon impact or resistance. A properly adjusted low energy doorway will stop, stall, or reverse when an obstruction is encountered during its operations. The more complex or sophisticated the low energy door control, the more potential features will be available. Some possible options include a power assisted feature that will sense the force exerted by a user and activate the door motor control to take over the opening effort. A feature called "Push and Go" is often available which performs this type of function. There are also obstruction reactive elements that will stop, reverse or recycle the opener that may be included in the motor control command options. According to specific industry wide safety standards, no optical sensor or proximity sensor of any kind is required on any low energy door system that is operated by a push of a button known as a "Knowing Act". For this reason, these types of doorways are practical for low volume traffic. They are safe when used appropriately and regularly tested for proper force and speed when moving. These doors can be problematic when installed in place of a more costly high energy, fully automated doorway. Daily inspections of all low energy door systems is an industry wide requirement. Most manufacturers provide signage and stickers that are positioned on door frames instructing the manager of any facility that the observation of these doorways is needed routinely. In an effort to improve the low energy products, retrofitted sensors and threshold protective devices used on fully automatic high energy door systems have been installed on low energy doors. This has become an industry wide practice that is acceptable. The sensors are often placed on these low energy openers to keep a "tailgating" pedestrian from being hit by a closing door that has "timed out" after the first user has passed through the doorway. When actual pedestrian traffic counts exceeds the original expectations of the architect or designer, it is a good idea to replace the low energy door system with a fully automatic high energy doorway. HIGH ENERGY DOORS High energy door systems are available in many different configurations. Swingers, sliders, revolving, bi-parting, and telescoping are the most prevalent types in usage today. Their application and installation are dictated by design choices, weather requirements and location parameters. These doorways differ from low energy door systems in the way that the door operates and the force and speed that the doors possess when moving. In general, automatic door systems have an approach sensor, a threshold protection sensor and an egress sensor. The complexity of the automated door system dictates the level of sophistication of the entire door component control and sensor package. As discussed in previous automatic door articles, specific requirements of different automatic door systems govern the types and locations of door sensors and safety devices. The one consistent requirement of every automatic door system is the need to perform daily safety inspections. Industry wide accepted standards have been adopted to help maintain the safety of all users of all pedestrian doorways. In the most general sense, no properly maintained and functioning automatic door should ever hit a user of that doorway. Industry standards stating the importance of daily safety checks and component inspections are normally positioned on warning labels provided by the product manufacture adjacent to the door control activation panels. The proper methods of determining the correct functions and operations of the doorway are listed along with test procedures and instructions to seek professional service assistance if any of the safety devices fail to work as described. There is usually a warning to discontinue the usage of the doorway until all safety features function consistently and properly. Because high energy doorways move at a much faster speed and force than low energy doorways when opening and closing, it is very important to know that all of the built in safety sensors are functioning properly at all times when the doorway is in use. HOW THE STANDARDS FOR HIGH & LOW ENERGY DOORS ARE DETERMINED Most standards are compiled from suggestions and the informed input from manufacturers, installers, architects, engineers, and door designers. The general public has the ability to suggest additions to these standards as well. When the standards are developed, written, and finally accepted, there is often a delay in instituting the new ideas until the next revision is printed and published. Products that are produced during an interim period between standard revision editions are considered compliant at the time of manufacturing. However, they may not always comply with the revised standards shortly after their production period. In most cases the previous standards are incorporated into the newer editions. The basic parameters and ideas behind the earlier version of the standards have been more refined or finely tuned, not generally changed from the original concept. With changes in technologies certain aspects of door controls, activation devices, door sensors, and safety equipment have made prior standards obsolete. An example of this is the current usage of overhead door sensing devices to control door functions. Originally, on the early automatic door systems, prior to the development of consistent and dependable sensors, floor mats with electric or hydraulic contacts were the most common form of door activation. Pressure sensitive mats are now in limited installations and considered outdated in most applications. There are generally provisions in the standards that refer to older equipment that has been in service and still functioning adequately. But, the emphasis on safety is always the primary basis for automatic door standards and the reason that improved designs and newer technology products have taken over. GENERAL OBSERVATIONS FROM A DOOR SERVICE PROVIDER & DOOR EXPERT WITNESS As the retained expert witness for both plaintiff and defense in hundreds of personal injury and wrongful death automatic door cases, there have been severe injuries and deaths occur as a result of every type and design of malfunctioning door systems. In older automatic door installations, failure of the sensor floor mats often caused injuries. These older technology mats, and, in some cases, original system components were generally installed in grocery stores. They were most frequently associated with automatic swinging doors and were considered a great convenience to shoppers that no longer had to hold open the store doorways as they pushed their shopping cart in or out of the store. Some old door standards make reference to control mat usage in sliding door installations. In actual practice, multiple scanning sensors were typically installed in place of the pressure activated floor mats in those systems. Pressure sensitive control mats would ultimately deteriorate due to heavy shopping carts constantly running over them. Weather related issues such as exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun, or effects from freezing rain, snow, and ice, would cause the mats to become brittle, have contact problems, and fall apart. Pedestrians using these doorways would become confused as the mats failed to consistently signal the door operator. The doors would either fail to open, fail to remain open, or react erratically when stepped upon. With more modern technology and the usage of scanning sensors, the zones of coverage and potential for increased safety of the pedestrian using the automatic doorway is greatly improved. Some new automatic doorways have integrated safety features that will deactivate the door operator. This integrated safety feature can render the doorway harmless to any user when these new state of the art sensors are malfunctioning or improperly positioned. Even so, the majority of doorways that are currently in use must be inspected daily to insure that the sensors and motor controls are operating safely prior to the start of business every day. There are many published articles available about maintaining automatic door systems. Those articles refer to numerous past cases where injuries resulted from a variety of deferred conditions or a complete lack of inspection and/or maintenance. TYPICAL INCIDENTS THAT CAN HAPPEN WHEN AUTOMATIC DOORS MALFUNCTION 1. A woman entering a small convenience store was hit by an outward swinging automatic door when another patron approached the interior side of the doorway to leave the store. In some installations, two-way traffic is possible with one door opening. In other installations, a door to enter and a door to exit is provided. Due to the fact that a single doorway was in place to allow both ingress and egress, the door system had to have safety devices in place to guard against this type of circumstance. Upon inspection, it was determined that the overhead sensor on the exterior of the doorway was not sending information to the door motor controller which would have kept the door from opening outward when the patron on the interior of the opening was attempting to exit the building. For this reason, a two way door system that swings has often been replaced with a sliding or bi fold doorway to eliminate the possibility of collision or entrapment. The subject door inspected was not compliant with the industry standards for operation, and had not been tested or professionally inspected for several years prior to the incident. 2.A woman was entering a department store when an automatic swinging door struck her from behind, slicing her ankle. When struck by the jagged door edge, her Achilles tendon was cut and she immediately fell to the ground in the middle of the doorway. After viewing the store video footage that captured the incident, reviewing the service records provided, and from testing and inspecting the doorway during an on-site visit, it was apparent that the door moved far too quickly. The sensors were improperly adjusted and there had not been any in-house inspection of the doorway as required. 3.A small boy and girl were walking ahead of their father through an automatic sliding doorway at a local home center store. The children were about to cross the threshold when the door suddenly closed upon one of them. The second child saw the door move and grabbed his sister as the door slammed upon her. The boy broke his hand, and the girl sustained a broken leg. The father quickly scooped up the two children, and was also struck by the out of control sliding door injuring his shoulder. The incident was captured on a video recording that was "lost" during discovery. CASE OUTCOME In case #1 it was discovered during a deposition that the store owner had not wanted to pay for professional service repairs. He enlisted the help of his son to disable partial function of the outside door sensor. Altering the function of the outside sensor allowed the approach portion of the exterior sensor to function while stopping the sentinel portion. The sentinel protection was designed to disable the door motor control when someone is occupying the outswing path of the door. That tampering with the sensor created the possibility of hitting pedestrians in the path of the door swing. The store owner claimed that he could not afford to repair the defective sensor, so he made do with what he had. His son was going to school for electrical engineering at a local school, and he knew how to make the door work without spending any money. By altering the function of the doorway sensor system, the store owner was found responsible for the injury. He was also found negligent in his store maintenance and daily operations. In case #2 the store ownership believed that the woman using the door was responsible for her own injuries. According to the store manager, she had slowed down as she was entering the store or had actually stopped in the threshold while entering the store doorway. The store management claimed in depositions that daily inspections were made by their security guards. The security guards contradicted the managements position stating that they turned on the power to the doorway, but never really checked the function when they opened the store each morning. Observation of the store during subsequent months proved that no daily inspections were ever made by the store security or any other employees. When the doorway was inspected, it was determined that the motor controller had been damaged during a prior power surge, and the erratic operation of the door was confirmed. In case #3, the store intentionally disposed of the video taken during the event. Any good attorney will issue a notice to preserve all evidence including video recordings from the time of an incident. Upon inspection, the doors operated as described by the father. It was determined that two cross threshold sensors had been disabled. The two children were not "seen" by the upper sensors as this older automatic sliding door relied upon electric eye type of beams to guard the threshold during operation. The store was penalized by the court for tampering with evidence, and was sanctioned. The store was found responsible for negligent operations and practices. Automatic door systems are complex and can be potentially dangerous pieces of equipment. In deferred condition, automatic doors can exhibit significant forces that can lead to life threatening injuries. In the above three examples, all of the injured parties recovered fully. Many injured in automatic doorways are not so lucky. Every year there are many wrongful deaths associated with malfunctioning automatic doors. But that does not mean that a properly functioning and correctly adjusted automatic doorway is not safe. AUTOMATIC DOOR MANUFACTURERS - Are their products safe? The manufacturers of most automatic door systems provide products that are safe and time tested. Most of the products commercially available have been thoroughly inspected, lab tested, and put in to production after careful design and usage parameters have been met. In almost every case the defects found in the door systems have arisen from improper maintenance, a lack of policies, plans and procedures that the store management fails to observe, and an attempt to save the cost of hiring a professional competent service provider. PEDESTRIANS - BE AWARE As a pedestrian using these ubiquitous doorways, be aware of the doors that you are passing through. Observe the operation of any doorway prior to entering, and proceed with caution as you pass through the threshold. Diligence on the part of any automatic door user will help to assure safe passage. Be sure to report any defective operation to a store manager, and avoid distractions when entering an automatic doorway of any kind. Always pay attention as you walk through any doorway.


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Published at Wednesday, September 30th 2015, 21:04:55 PM by shelby. Door Matts. Why A Good Quality Garage Door in Dallas Is Vital The city of Dallas, Tx is located in North Central Texas, about 250 miles north of the Gulf of Mexico. The relatively flat elevation of the city, which reaches no more than 500-800 feet at the highest points, offers little protection from winds and temperature extremes. In general, the weather is considered to be humid subtropical with very hot summers. It is also characterized by a wide range of annual temperature extremes and weather phenomenon. According to The New York Times, April 1, 2011 Article "Where to Live to Avoid a Natural Disaster", Dallas is ranked as the city with the highest risks in the entire nation for weather hazards. Why did Dallas, TX receive this ranking? To quote the article, it is because "Dallas has lots of almost everything, but quakes, including hail, wind, drought, and floods." This article contains an analysis based on Sperlings Best Places, a publisher of city rankings, and it examines weather risks in 379 different American metro areas. The fact that Dallas, TX was evaluated as the city with the most dangerous and hazardous weather out of all 379 other cities is noteworthy. Lets describe some of these weather hazards that so characterize Dallas. Winters are moderate in most cases, but strong cold fronts do occur about 3 times each month and are often accompanied by sudden and extreme drops in temperature. Five months out of the year (January, February, March, November and December) temperatures reach below freezing (below 32 degrees) and for 7 months out of the year (April, May, June, July, August, September and October) temperatures reach above 90 degrees, according to the National Climatic Data Center. There is virtually no adjustment period between the months of winter and the months of extreme heat. Spring and Fall can be very undistinguished and virtually nonexistent, with the exception of strong winds and hailstorms during the Spring months. According to Riskmeter dot com, a website that evaluates risks, the Dallas Fort Worth metropolis is ranked as one of the Top 10 most hail prone areas in the entire country, according to the frequency of hail storms as well as the severity. In addition to the sudden and extreme shifts in temperatures and the devastating number and degree of hail storms, Dallas also is located in "Tornado Alley". Eighty tornadoes were reported in Dallas county between the years of 1950 & 2007, causing millions of dollars worth of damage to property. In fact, according to the National Climatic Data Center, Dallas, TX is listed as #3 in the Top Ten Most Tornado Prone Cities in the nation. When the wind is not powerful enough to be classified as a tornado, it still is strong. The National Climatic Data Center also ranked Dallas, Texas as one of the Top Ten Windiest Cities in the country. Weve mentioned extreme temperature changes, hail, powerful winds and tornadoes. But these are not the only reasons why Dallas was voted as the city with the most hazardous weather. We also must take note of how high the UV index rankings are for the city. UV rays are normally blocked by our Ozone. But on some days, more rays penetrate the Ozone and reach the earths surface than on other days, and in some areas, the rays are more intense. These rays cause damage to all living cells, and even to inanimate objects, such as our property. So, how does Dallas rate when it comes to the UV index? On average, every year the months of April, May, June, July, August, and September all were ranked as "Very High" on the index for Dallas. This is the highest possible ranking. The months of March and October both were ranked at "High" on average each year. Combined, that totals 8 months out of the year with above average UV intensity for the city of Dallas. It is true that there are some other cities in the United States besides Dallas that may have a noteworthy number of tornadoes, or high UV rankings, or a significant amount of hail storms, or high winds, or extreme shifts in temperatures. However, Dallas has ALL of these issues, making it the city with the highest risk factors combined, and the most weather hazardous metropolis. It is obvious how this severe weather affects the comfort and sometimes even the safety, of the residents. However, it may be somewhat less obvious to consider how these weather extremes and hazards affect the property of the residents. For the purpose of this article, we are considering an often neglected part of the home owners property- their garage door. How does the weather affect Dallas garage doors, and why is a good quality overhead door in Dallas so vital? The unique climate of the region brings stress to houses in Dallas-Fort Worth, and all of the cities around. Dallas homeowners are not strangers to fence and roof problems due to weather, as well as landscaping anxiety and lost windows due to hail. They also know that their garage doors undergo a lot of pressure. Their doors must be lasting enough to withstand possible hail damage on the surface of the garage door and the overhead door fixtures and hardware, warping due to extreme wind gusts and UV exposure, and parts malfunction from the high temperature fluctuations. If Dallas was voted as the city with the most weather hazards, then Dallas residents need the garage door with the most quality. This means that residents need to use special care when choosing which overhead door to acquire and which garage door company will be granted the installation job. If they dont order an overhead door that will endure the meteorological punishment of North Texas, they will soon regret it. Likewise, if they buy an overhead door of the highest quality, but use a new company that is unqualified and inexperienced to install the door, they may find their high quality door blown off, broken or split during the next wind storm. Improperly installed garage doors that come loose off the track during wind storms have been known to crash down on automobiles, or fly into neighbors yards and cause property damage. So, how can you pick the best garage door for your house in Dallas? After all, you are no expert on overhead doors and there are many different brands, types and materials out there to choose from. You need an expert in your corner, one that is knowledgeable on every sort of brand, to give you advice. This means that you need to choose your Dallas garage door company wisely. For one thing, look for a company with many years of experience operating in Dallas. They will be familiar with Dallas weather and will understand the special challenges that it brings. An overhead door company that is new to the area or just started doing business in Dallas would be unfamiliar with these unique obstacles. They may use parts that would be sufficient in a temperate and mild environment, but unable to hold up to high winds, tornado gusts, hail, and strong UV rays of Dallas. For example, if the door was not properly sealed with a coating that can resist the "Very High" UV index ratings of Dallas, you may notice the finish beginning to peel and fade prematurely. The door itself may begin warping. If they did not offer you steel garage door options, or at least rock hard sealants for the wood of your overhead door, you may also soon discover pot marks from one of the many Dallas hail storms. If they used inferior rollers, hardware or other parts, then they may not hold up very long to the sudden shifts in extreme heat and cold. You may discover soon that your garage door makes unusual noises and/or does not open and close properly. Dont be fooled if these inexperienced companies offer a cheap price tag. Sacrificing quality just to save a few bucks up front will land you with a job that has a plethora of problems. In the end, you will have to call an experienced company to re-do the job correctly and the job will end up costing you twice as much, along with wasted time and headaches. What you want is a professional, trustworthy and qualified Dallas overhead door company with years of experience doing garage door installation and overhead door repairs, as well as reasonable prices. A reputable company is the only option when you want a job done correctly. When it comes to choosing the best garage door company Dallas has to offer, there are a few other traits to look for in addition to their years of experience in Dallas. Since you want an overhead door company that reflects quality and gives attention to detail, one way to measure these qualities is by examining their website. A company with a poor quality website might offer something similar when it comes to overhead doors. You can tell a lot about the quality of a company and how much pride they take in their reputation and their work by looking at how they present themselves to the world. A well designed website with useful information speaks highly of a garage door company. The website should have pictures of products, and testimonials from happy customers. If the website is old, out-dated, poor quality, with perhaps misspelled words and pages that do not work, move on to the next candidate. If they pass the "website test", then the next step is to give the company a phone call. Ask them how many years they have been installing garage doors and offering repairs in Dallas. Ask them if they offer any warranties on their work, and on their products. Are they insured? Are their workers well-trained? Are they willing to provide you with some references? Make sure that they are able to offer all types and brands of overhead doors, so that they can give you unbiased advice when it comes to choosing the best door for your house and your budget. A cheap overhead door may save you money today, but will cost you tomorrow. Remember, if you get trapped inside your garage during one of the hottest days in Dallas, you might survive only by a miracle. You could literally roast yourself at temperatures of hundred and thirty degrees and above if the door faces the sun. Imagine what would happen to a child. Do you want safety sensors that prevent the door from closing if someone or something (such as your car) is in the way? Which springs are less likely to break? Garage door springs are under tremendous amounts of tension and pressure. If one breaks and flies off, it literally could kill someone. There are even safety devices that prevent this from happening. Ask your Dallas garage door company about such safety features when making your decision


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Published at Wednesday, September 30th 2015, 23:42:55 PM by Tommy. Door Matts. Door Defects & Related Injury Claims - A Guided Tour of Manual Doors & Hardware We are all used to opening and closing doors on a daily basis. Unless you encounter a problem with the function of your doors, you probably dont give their operation and component make up much thought. I am continually contacted by attorneys seeking my advice on an injury that took place because of an improperly adjusted or malfunctioning door. In this article, I am simply discussing manually operated doors. Nothing fancy or automatic about them, the kind where you grab a lever, push a plate or bang on a bar to enter or leave a room or building. So, if you want to learn to communicate professionally and simply with your door expert or even your building manager, read on. Doors are actually a pretty simple and early invention. They probably started with a couple of wide planks to enclose an opening to keep out the weather or separate your belongings from the animals. Modern door systems are much more complex, but still do the basics. They keep your stuff protected from the elements, animals and other people. While this article is in no means meant to be exhaustive and highly technical, there are a few things that need identification in order for all of us to properly understand their functions and be able to effectively communicate information. A basic door system is made up of a framed opening, hinges, door, and door latch or lock. As separation and security requirements increase, the door system begins to increase in complexity. The basic door is either considered an unrated fire separation component or a rated fire separation component. Unrated doors, frames and hardware: Unrated doors are installed in locations that do not participate in keeping a fire contained. They are typical in most home locations, with the usual exception of a garage to interior home doorway. Unrated doors may be approved for some exterior exit doorways in commercial buildings, as well as interoffice openings. You have probably seen wooden raised panel doors, hollow slab doors, or hand carved ornate doors that appear more like artwork than a doorway. These doors are typically unrated, and do a fine job maintaining separation and privacy in our homes and offices. We are able to use these types of unrated doors in many locations, both residential and commercially, because designers or architects have located fire control walls and separations as part of the building design that make individual fire walls unnecessary. These doorways do not have the stringent requirements for their hardware, frames or doors that a fire rated doorway must have. Fire rated door systems: Fire rated doors, along with other augmented system components are able to contain a fire without burning through for a known and tested period of time. Typical ratings of fire doors are 20, 45, 60, 90, and 180 minutes. Uniform building codes and local fire codes determine the appropriate separations needed for a specific area of every building. A fire rated opening is only as good as its weakest component. Therefore, along with a rated door, you need to have a rated frame assembly. There are many types of fire rated frames in the commercial market. Frames also undergo specific testing to rate their ability to withstand fire for a period of time. Commercially available standard rated frames are made from a variety of products. Rating can be achieved for hollow metal steel frames, aluminum frames, and specially treated wood frames. The correct application and method of attachment of each type of these frames will limit or rate the opening to match the condition and rating of the wall that it is part of. Frames are made up of a minimum of three components: A left leg, a right leg, (both vertical pieces) and the header (horizontal piece of the frame). Other more complex frames have the three components plus a clipped on casing mold. Some frames, particularly when associated and required with more stringent fire ratings will be fabricated into one welded assembly. Appropriate installation of all frames requires sturdy and positive attachment to the wall opening and floor system. To assure that the door will not be blown out of the framed opening during a fire, fire rated hardware must be used in conjunction with the fire rated frame. Ratings are given to hinges, door locks, panic bars and other locking devices and related components. To increase the effective barrier from a fire, a seal or gasket of some sort must be used around the opening of the door, as well as along the door bottom. In conjunction with these smoke seals there needs to be a non-combustible threshold between the floor and door sweep. These seals are in place to protect the occupants of an adjacent room from smoke or poisonous gases released from a fire, and are designed to allow more time for evacuation from the fire zone. Lets talk about how to describe a door opening: It is important to accurately explain what a door opening looks like and how it functions over the phone so that both parties are visualizing the same type of opening. If you want to do a little preliminary investigation, here are some things that are helpful in describing the door and frame to your expert. First, measure the opening so that you know the rough height and width of the door. The height measurement is taken between the floor and header piece location where the door rests. The width measurement is taken between the door legs at the widest point where the door rests between the legs of the frame. More information about door frames later in this article. A typical commercial door measurement might be 84" high x 36" wide. The actual door size will be slightly smaller, but that is not important for this exercise. A residential door, particularly in older homes, may be 80"high x 32" wide. Obviously, site conditions vary from location to location. Exact measurements may be critical later on in your case, but that is why you have contacted an expert to investigate. Next, determine if the door opens into the room that you are standing in or away from that room. Does the door swing from the left or right side? Here is a tip on how to figure this out. If you are standing inside a room that the door swings into: Place your back against the door and see if the hinges are on the right side of your body or the left side. If right, you have a right hand door, if left, it is left handed. Remember this saying: "Your BUTT to the hinge BUTT". If you are in a room outside of where the door swings into, it gets a little more confusing as to how to describe the handing, but for simplicity, just look into the room and see if the door swings to the right or the left. It may be important to know, as your case may "HINGE".... Ha, ha, ha...on this detail! Now that the hard part is done, take a look at the door. What is it made of? Wood, Metal, glass, plastic laminate, etc... Does it have a label of any kind on it indicating a fire rating or special information? Does it have any distinguishing features such as scarring, scratches, damage of any kind? Generally, what condition is the door in? Does it look old or show wear, or is it new and in good shape? Is the door dragging on the floor or rubbing on the frame? Swing the door a few times to see if something is not working properly. Now, check out the hardware on the door. How many hinges are attached to the door and frame? Do the hinges appear to be solidly attached to the door? Are the screws loose and pulling out of the door or frame? Measure what size the hinges are, if you can. Measure from the top of the hinge to the bottom of one hinge only. They should all be the same size. Are they? Note what color they are. Are they rusty, covered in dust or grease, old or new looking? Does the door have any type of knob or lever on it? Does it have a key lock? Is it activated remotely or by some sort of touch pad? Does it have a panic bar exit device on it, or are we looking at a conventional door lock set? Does it have a round orbit type of knob or a lever to activate the lock? Does the door have a door closer on it? Is the closer on the inside of the door or the outside of the door? What condition does the overall hardware seem to be in? Are there kick plates or push plates on the door? Take a photograph of the door, if you can, for your file. Actual Case Experience: Several years ago an early photograph of a door problem, taken immediately after an injury happened, showed that changes had been made to installed hardware. It was claimed by the opposition, during written discovery and deposition testimony that no alterations of any kind had been done to the doors since the injury occurred. After a site visit, I was given the early photos to evaluate, and immediately saw that the hardware had all been changed. This revelation led to some pretty interesting settlement negotiations in favor of my client. So get the pictures, if possible! As long as you are examining the door, you should take a brief look at the frame and the frames attachment to the wall. How is the frame oriented to the wall? Is there any space on either side of the wall, and what proximity to a perpendicular wall does it have? Is the frame metal, wood or some other material? Does it have a fire rated label or specialty tag on it? Does it appear to be solidly attached to the wall? Are the hinges solidly attached to the frame and door? Does the frame look scratched or worn, and are there grooves or dents? Now that you have made a preliminary evaluation of the door, you are through with your basic inspection. You have seen firsthand what the site conditions are, and hopefully used my suggestions to evaluate the door for yourself. Summary: While your door expert should be thoroughly versed on every aspect of doors, door hardware, and installation elements, your ability to effectively describe the site shows your professionalism and concern for your case. Doors are either fire rated or unrated. Not all doors need to be rated. They all have basic components such as hinges, locks, or panic devices. Door swing can be determined, as described above. Early photos and expert inspection of an event site can be extremely important for your case. Hiring a competent door expert and capturing critical evidence is one of the most important things that you can do for your client. Glossary of terms (as they apply to door components in this article): Hinge: a device usually consisting of two leaves interlaced to receive a removable pin allowing for movement of the two leaves so that a positive attachment can be made to two individual stabile components. Closer: A hydraulic or spring loaded device designed to draw, retard or bring together a door to the door framed opening. Swing; The direction of movement and arced path of travel taken by a door in a framed opening. Panic device: A piece of hardware designed to work without any special knowledge, activated by applying force to a bar usually positioned horizontally across the face of the door. Frame: The product bordering a wall opening allowing connection between wall and door. Lock set: Any lock device that works in concert with a latch and strike plate. Smoke seal: Any material capable of gasketing a framed opening. The material that the seal is composed of is specifically designed to isolate transfer of smoke and poisonous gases emitted by a fire. Door sweep: A piece of weather-stripping or smoke seal designed to stop air, smoke or other objects from entering underneath a closed door. Acts like a broom to sweep along the floor, sealing the door bottom. Threshold: The boundary of two areas associated with a door way. The material located directly underneath a closed door. Depending on rating requirements, a variety of materials are used. Latch: The bolt that physically holds a door closed when engaged in a strike plate working as part of a lockset. Strike plate: The plate attached to a door frame, with a hole to receive the latch.


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