For new or retrofit construction in commercial and institutional building environments, specifying integrated door opening systems provides a surprising number of benefits for a wide number of applications. They are ideal solutions for cross corridor doors, smoke doors, stairwell doors, elevators/shafts and doors with automatic operators. Because the hardware is integrated with the door and installed at the factory, installation costs are dramatically reduced, and problems of hardware compatibility and misalignment are virtually eliminated.
Brief History of Integrated Door Opening Assemblies
Inset mid-rail exit devices have been utilized in aluminum storefront applications for many years. Supplying the hardware with the aluminum door basically meant lower installation costs.
In 1982 the first integrated door opening assembly went on the market. It featured a low projection exit device designed to be held open, and used a concealed hinge type application, which was a cable that suspended the door.
1996 saw the advent of an operational fire-rated assembly that could close off corridors or elevator shafts under fire conditions. By 1998, integrated doors were available as complete fire-rated or life-safety door assemblies, with low-profile exit devices and hardware pre-installed at the factory.
Key Features and Benefits
With factory-installed hardware, the most obvious benefit is faster installation. The time to install a typical pair of doors in the field is reduced from 6 to 8 hours to less than 2 hours. This can result in a cost savings of up to $1,000.00 to $1,500.00 per door opening.
Top Rod-Only Exit Device
Integrated doors with a top rod-only exit device eliminate the floor strike. This means that there is no floor strike to install, maintain, mar floors or create a tripping hazard. Most importantly, it eliminates the most common failure point-the bottom rod.
The RITE Door®, manufactured by Adams Rite, features a patented top rod-only exit device with latching hardware that actually interlocks the frame to the door for extra security.
Integrated doors work well with automatic operators, security access control, and can be hung in cased openings, single rabbet and a variety of fire-rated frames.
Low profile operating hardware means clean sight lines as well as designer looks, and maximized clear openings satisfy strict building codes and accessibility guidelines. Also, low profile pushbars and operators are less susceptible to damage from harsh, daily use.
The usual electrification options-including electrified dogging, alarm, latch retraction and monitoring are all possible with integrated door systems.
Who Benefits from Integrated Door Opening Systems?
Everyone. For architects, integrated doors blend beautifully with almost any kind of architecture. For specifiers, integrated doors are the ideal solution for any public or commercial project requiring fire doors. Contractors benefit because pre-installed hardware makes the doors easier and quicker to install. Owners and operators love a low-profile design that satisfies the strictest building codes and accessibility guidelines for clear opening. For maintenance personnel, care and maintenance is simplified, and low-profile pushbars resist the wear and tear of bulkier devices.
CASE STUDY: The RITE Door® for Elevator Shaft Smoke Containment
A high-use facility like a college campus library can present numerous obstacles to designers, architects and specifiers in regards to fire and life safety concerns-which can be made more difficult by the added challenge of ensuring safe accessibility for potentially large numbers of people.
The International Building Code (IBC) requires fire rated smoke barriers to prevent the migration of smoke from the elevator shafts to the fire rated egress corridors of a building, which can endanger the lives of occupants or persons using the egress routes.
Architects faced several obstacles when designing elevator shafts for Chapman University's Leatherby Library, located in Orange, California. First, separate elevator lobbies would have restricted the clear corridor egress width, and decreased the usable space. Second, projections of doors and hardware presented compliance obstacles and potentially hazardous conditions. Third, conventional fire door assemblies create long term maintenance issues and also make it difficult to maintain continuity of architectural design.
The decision was made to specify an integrated door opening assembly that swings over the face of the elevator shaft opening. The model approved and specified was The RITE Door® by Adams Rite Manufacturing Co., an ASSA ABLOY Group company, located in Pomona, California, for the following reasons:
The RITE Door complied with all of the strict building codes issues and was tested and approved as a complete fire-rated assembly. It provided a fire labeled oversized door opening width that was not available with conventional fire doors. Also, the entire assembly could tuck into the wall to improve aesthetic appeal and maintain desired design continuity.
The RITE Door hardware is factory installed, which reduced field labor costs and potential for errors. Doors were installed with heavy-duty, full-length continuous hinges along with inset operating hardware which is practically flush with door face.
A patented top-latching mechanism decreased potential for long term maintenance issues. Finally, The RITE Door was able to be competitively bid as an installed package from several local sources and met the project budget considerations.
In a nutshell, The RITE Door is efficient to install and maintain, and is a durable economical and practical door system choice for a wide range of educational and commercial applications.