An open and shut case

Darren Hyde of the Automatic Door Suppliers Association, discusses why there is a clear cut case for creating and maintaining standards for automatic doors, and why they need to be reviewed against a landscape of fast-changing technologies, new products and client requirements

Standards – they’re just another hurdle to get over, right? Wrong! Standards provide a framework for safety, functionality, and interoperability which ensure that powered pedestrian door systems operate safely, preventing accidents and injuries to users.

They are the ‘unsung heroes’ in the ever-evolving realms of architecture, providing a framework of safety, functionality, and innovation to support architectural delivery, thereby underpinning architects’ commitment to excellence.

Automatic doors are not merely functional elements but integral components of modern architectural design. The adoption of British and European standards in the automatic door industry ensures that these installations meet rigorous safety and performance benchmarks. As the visionaries behind every structure, architects must also consider the safety and wellbeing of their eventual occupants. Standards such as BS EN 16005 provide comprehensive guidelines for the installation, use, and maintenance of automatic doors, guaranteeing a level of safety that architects can confidently incorporate into their designs.

It is also the standard that spearheads accessibility. British and European standards are designed to strike a delicate balance between aesthetics and accessibility so that architectural beauty need not be compromised. The range of automatic doors can actively contribute to making the overarching design visually appealing while making access easy for everyone, including people with disabilities. This commitment to inclusivity aligns with the principles of universal design, allowing architects to create spaces that welcome everyone without sacrificing design integrity.

Standards are created, reviewed and amended by a variety of organisations responsible for quality and safety in their own countries and harmonisation across Europe. Each standard is given a number, preceded by the initials of the issuing body and followed by any revision date. The myriad of numbers and letters may be confusing, but understanding key standards provides essential framework to achieve the goals described below.

Safety assurance

Automatic doors are a part of everyday life, found in public buildings, commercial spaces, and residential complexes. Standards help in identifying the right doors for their intended environment, use and users, and that they are properly installed and maintained to operate safely and prevent accidents and injuries to users.

Consistency & interoperability

Standards establish a common language and set of criteria for the design, installation, and maintenance of automatic doors. This ensures that products from different manufacturers can work together seamlessly, promoting interoperability and ease of integration into various architectural designs and wider building management.

Accessibility & inclusivity

Standards contribute to the development of access solutions for people with diverse needs, including those with disabilities. Adhering to standards ensures that doors are designed to be user-friendly, promoting inclusivity and accommodating a broad spectrum of users.

Quality & reliability

Standards define performance requirements for automatic doors, ensuring that they meet quality benchmarks. This helps architects, specifiers, builders, and facility managers to select reliable products that will perform well over time.

Regulations compliance

Compliance with specific standards may also be a legal requirement. Following standards ensures that entrance solutions meet regulatory obligations, helping building owners and operators avoid legal issues and liabilities. This will also help mitigate risks associated with the use of automatic doors and the potential for accidents, injuries, and property damage.

Global recognition

Standards are often developed with international input and collaboration. Adhering to recognised standards provides consistency and recognition on a global scale, making it easier for architects and builders to work on international projects.

Technological advancements

Standards evolve to incorporate technological advancements. This allows architects to integrate the latest technologies, such as sensor systems, energy-efficient features, and smart building capabilities, into their designs while ensuring compatibility and safety.

Architects constantly strive for designs that integrate technology and aesthetics, understanding and adhering to British and European standards in the automatic door industry is paramount.

As architects continue to shape the future of our built environment, the Automatic Door Suppliers Association (ADSA) is committed to remain a critical player in helping achieve a harmonious blend of form and function. By embracing and championing British and European standards, architects not only ensure the safety, accessibility, and performance of their designs but also contribute to a global standard of excellence. In doing so, they pave the way for a more inclusive and innovative future in architecture, where every detail is a testament to the commitment to quality and the pursuit of architectural brilliance.

New standards

EN 16005: 2012 has been under review since 2018. All EN standards are reviewed every five years. During this process, many CEN member countries asked for clarifications on the details of the current standard. The standard setting body continued to work on revising the European wide standard and CEN has now published a new version EN 16005: 2023. This means that new BS/IS versions of the standard will soon be published.

The EN: 2023 version of the standard has not currently been harmonised or cited in the Official Journal of the European Union, and the BS EN version will need to be added to the Designated Standards list in the UK.

The standard is not retrospective, so all doors fitted before the UK publication date need not comply.

Each national setting body (BSI/NSAI) must withdraw the previous standard EN 16005: 2012 and replace it with the new one. This process must be completed by
e30 June 2024. The main changes include:

  • Amendments to the risk assessment for vulnerable traffic Additional safety dimension drawings to highlight typical hazard prevention measures
  • Revision of finger protection minimum height (1.9 m)
  • Detailed construction requirements for barriers (for both barriers at 90° and in the same plane)
  • Additional safeguarding and test for revolving doors.

All companies specifying, supplying, installing or servicing powered pedestrian door systems should work to the new standard – once it has been published and released.

Darren Hyde is technical and training manager at the Automatic Door Suppliers Association