18 May 2021
Door closers are required to protect people and property, but they are left useless without the appropriate adjustments. Kirk Smith of Allegion UK explains the key elements of door closer adjustments and how to correctly approach each type. Described as mechanically or electronically controlled closing devices, door closers are designed to open a door safely and close slowly but firmly enough to latch into place. Importance of closing doors When working as intended, closers play an integral role in a building’s operational safety, enabling a user to operate a door in a way that doesn’t harm them or damage the building. More importantly, a working door closer - whether concealed or surface mounted - will keep fire doors closed in the event of a fire, aiding in the compartmentalization of fire and smoke. As part of their building safety advice published in 2020, the UK government recognized the significance of ‘compulsory closers’ and has urged decision-makers and residents to recognize the importance of a working self-closing device. Yet, a lack of sufficient maintenance and installation know-how often results in indoor closers not functioning as required. Fundamental Safeguarding If a door closer is adjusted incorrectly, it can leave doors slamming open and shut compromises fire safety In their best practice guide, the Door Hardware Federation (DHF) states that a minimum power size 3 door closer must be used on fire doors. Additionally, to comply with UK Construction Products Regulations, controlled closing devices must be CE marked, and tested under BS EN 1154 standard and fire rated to BS EN 1634. Aside from using non-compliant hardware, complications arise when a door closer isn’t adjusted correctly. Whether a door is opened manually, mechanically, or electronically, if its accompanying door closer is adjusted incorrectly, it can leave doors slamming open and shut and in some cases, failing to close completely. This compromises fire safety and building security – but it can be corrected. Operations explained Door closers operate by using spring tension, controlled by hydraulic fluid which passes from one section to the next as a door is opened. When the spring pushes the door closed again, the hydraulic fluid passes back to the previous section through a series of valves that control the speed of the mechanism. The valves can be adjusted at the installation stage or regular maintenance periods, and assist in controlling the speed of the door operation. Adjustments Explained When adjusting a door closer, it’s essential to understand the type of correction a closer needs to operate in its desired way. Most adjustments can be implemented by opening and closing the various hydraulic valves found on the body of the door closer. This can be completed by turning them with an Allen key or screwdriver to increase or decrease until the door closes in a safe and controlled manner. Adjustable Closer Speed and Closer Power PowerAdjust mechanism provides a visual guide on the EN power level at which the closer has been adjusted" “In the first instance, if a door is closing with too little or too much speed, users are in danger of leaving the door ajar, or when slamming shut, damaging the surrounding walls or the door and hardware itself. This can lead to fire safety concerns and increased maintenance periods. With this in mind, it’s commonly recommended to locate and adjust the valves so that the fire door closes within a 5-7 second period from a 90-degree angle.” “A PowerAdjust mechanism provides a visual guide on the EN power level at which the closer has been adjusted. This visual guide is useful in showing what strength a door is currently closing at and can detail how many valves turns are required to increase or decrease the power. This helps to avoid overtightening which endangers breaking the regulator oil seal. It’s also key to remember that a minimum power size 3 is required on any fire door.” Adjustable Latch Action “At its most crucial stage of the closing cycle, a door must often overcome seals and latches to close effectively. An unlatched door can facilitate the spread of smoke and fire and renders a fire door useless.” “Adjustable latch action allows you to control the speed of the door in the final 15 degrees of the closing cycle, ensuring the door completes closing and isn’t left unlatched. In the event a door is closing too hard at the final stage, a closer can also be adjusted to soften the final 15 degrees, which helps avoid damage to the lock strike and frame.” Adjustable Backcheck “In some cases, a fire door may be opening too quickly and violently and when poorly adjusted, this can leave the door to jam on the closing cycle.” “To prevent damage to the door or injury to persons standing behind it, we recommend adjusting the backcheck. Doing so will provide a cushioning effect, slowing the door down which is optimal for active building environments such as schools. Even after adjusting the closer, it’s always worth using doorstops.” Adjustable Delayed Action Maximum delay permissible on and a fire door should take no longer than 25 seconds to complete its closing cycle" “A prolonged closing action is useful for busy environments such as schools, hospitals, and care homes – helping users pass through in adequate time.” “By adjusting the delayed action, the speed at which the door closes can be set slower, giving people extra time to pass through the doorway. Adjustable timing is set between 70 degrees and 120 degrees. However, maximum delay permissible on and a fire door should take no longer than 25 seconds to complete its closing cycle.” Adjustable Hold-open “Although mechanical hold open door closers are for use on non-fire doors only, electromagnetic doors can safely implement hold-open door closers under fire safety standards.” Fire door closers operating at optimal speed and strength are a prerequisite for comprehensive fire safety. When it comes to the installation and maintenance of fire door closers, it’s crucial to understand the intricacies of adjustments. After all, it’s never right to risk building safety or non-compliance.
Both our homes and public building environments can have a huge impact on our wellbeing, and over the past few years, the importance of health and hygiene standards has only been exemplified. It’s said that eighty percent of common infections are spread by touch. What’s more, every 30 minutes the average person is said to touch surfaces that expose them to 840,000 germs. These germs are prevalent in public buildings too, where touchpoints are areas or items that are used by several individuals. Of those touchpoints, door handles are the most touched surface in working environments for example, and can be associated with cross-contamination and health risks. Rising infection rates Right now, the need to improve hygiene within our building environments, understandably, carries a greater significance than it maybe once did. But when it comes to building design, the process of protecting occupants and visitors against infection - especially those most vulnerable - can never be ignored. Research has shown that the coronavirus can survive on surfaces for hours Over what has been a challenging biennial, building environments have closed, reopened and the process repeated. With the coronavirus, the idea of reducing footfall in facilities was instrumental in faltering rising infection rates. But now, as normality has somewhat returned, that footfall is back. Once again, touchpoints such as door handles are harboring germs. In fact, research has shown that the coronavirus can survive on surfaces for hours, and even days on metal door handles - and the same can be said for the common flu. Promoting hand washing Government campaigns have promoted hand washing, sanitizing and distance-making in response to a return to public facilities. Undoubtedly, infection control methods such as hand washing and systematic cleaning are the most guaranteed way of controlling cross-contamination. However, these methods can still fall redundant as a result of human error or relaxed conventions. Building design can play an important role here. Daniel May, Director at Consort explains: “We’re at a point where decision makers are under pressure to keep building hygiene standards as high as ever before. And outside of the clear-cut hygiene measures, it’s understood that more can be done throughout the building design process, with architectural hardware selection at the core of decisions.” Anti-Microbial hardware Door hardware is the first touchpoint when entering, exiting or navigating a building" “Door hardware is the first touchpoint when entering, exiting or navigating a building, and can be one of the most bacteria-ridden. Yet, the latest in hardware advancements could give facility managers an edge in the fight against infection, especially in healthcare facilities, such as hospitals for example, where footfall is high and the need to maintain strict sterile environments already exists.” “For added protection against bacteria, facilities can implement tailored anti-microbial hardware and finishes. Anti-microbial coatings applied to door handles are precisely formulated to prevent bacteria build-up upon the surface by interrupting cell multiplication. Some door seal solutions also make use of modern anti-bacterial technology, embedding it within the aluminum and silicone of the door seal during production, further reducing the spread of bacteria in high traffic areas.” Effective infection control For care and hospital locations specifically, The Care Quality Commission (CQC) sets a regulation that cleanliness and effective infection control is a necessity for those environments. Healthcare environments are encouraged to introduce innovative infection control methods where possible, supporting the best practice methods already in place. Healthcare environments are encouraged to introduce innovative infection control methods Equally, under The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, decision makers have an active duty to keep inhabitants safe and their environments clean. And aside from the use of antimicrobial solutions, many are challenged to provide hygienically maintained environments without sacrificing fire or safety standards. Efficient building management Daniel adds: “Facilities with high footfall must also consider ventilation and ease of movement. Whether in healthcare, commercial or public environments, both are key elements of efficient building management and when done effectively, can further help inhibit the spread of infection by ensuring fresh air is consistently making its way through halls and rooms.” “The most effective way to improve ventilation throughout a building is by opening its windows and doors. This creates an inlet for fresh air and an outlet for the old air, and with access points open, minimizes the need to touch door handles. Yet, when focusing on airflow, it’s inopportune to disregard fire safety. Too many times, we’ve seen facilities fall foul of leaving fire doors propped open in favor of improving ventilation and ease of access - but simply put, it’s illegal to do so and leaves fire doors wholly ineffective in a fire situation.” Automatic door controls Modern exit systems are purpose built to ensure fire doors can be left open safely and securely" “Modern exit systems are purpose built to ensure fire doors can be left open safely and securely. Automatic door controls make use of sensors which activate the operator devices connected to the main access doors.” “In turn, this aids access and egress when required and closes the doors shut when necessary. In the event of a fire, the alarm is sounded, and the doors close automatically - ensuring safety is never compromised. What’s more, these systems can be integrated with the external building security, reducing risk on all fronts. Regular cleaning practices “Ultimately, when paired with regular cleaning practices, these modern solutions can play an assist role in the fight against infection, helping to maintain building hygiene as well as the obligatory standards associated with building and fire safety.” Consort’s bespoke specification services extend to hygienic solutions, offering users tailored products to suit the needs of any building infrastructure. Antimicrobial finishes can be applied to any touch products and door seals, of which are already supplied to large complex hospitals around the world including Pamela Youde in Hong Kong and the Metropolitan Hospital in Birmingham.
A new handheld device can detect the presence of explosive methane gas from up to 100 feet away. For firefighters, the tool provides situational awareness, saves time, and ensures safety from a distance. Knowing the presence of methane gas enables a firefighter to deal with an emergency gas leak and to avoid a deadly explosion. Gas laser The Gas Laser from Teledyne Gas and Flame Detection can shoot a laser beam through a window, a gap in a door, or another common venting point to provide an instant reading of the amount of methane in an area up to 100 feet away. The laser is invisible, but a green-spot pointer guides the aim as a user “points and shoots.” The laser bounces off any reflective object and then analyses the parts per million (ppm) of methane gas per meter of distance along the path of the laser. It measures down to a threshold of 1.25 ppm/meter. The handheld device can also capture a video image and a GPS location in addition to the gas reading stored on the device. It can be connected via WiFi and/or Bluetooth to a smartphone or other device and has onboard data logging. The device is automatically calibrated and tested when it is returned to its case. Detects minute quantities of methane Gas laser detects a much smaller amount of methane than would be explosive, thus preventing explosions “It’s a brand new device, and everybody wants it,” says Alan Skinner, Regional Manager, Portable Gas Detection for Teledyne Gas and Flame Detection. “Once they understand what it does, they want it. Now you don’t have to be inside a hazard to detect the hazard.” The Gas Laser detects a much smaller amount of methane than would be explosive, thus preventing explosions by addressing leaks early. The lower explosive limit (LEL) for methane is 5 percent, the equivalent of 50,000 ppm, much higher than the measurement threshold of the Gas Laser. Previously, there was no entirely safe method of evaluating the gas concentration without being near an area, typically using a three-foot probe sensor, for example. “Now they know what they are getting into before they enter,” says Skinner. “It saves a huge amount of time.” Understanding working of gas laser Getting the word out about the device has been a challenge given the continuing coronavirus pandemic and disruptions of the hurricane season. “It’s one of those products you have to show them and let them play with it to understand what it does,” says Skinner. Interest was high at the recent FDIC show, where Teledyne unveiled the new sensor alongside its broader range of gas detection sensors. Teledyne’s range of portable sensors traces its roots back to GM Instruments (GMI), founded in Scotland in 1947. The sensor company was involved in multiple mergers and acquisitions in recent years, including ownership by companies such as Battery Ventures, Tyco, Scott Instruments, Johnson Controls, and 3M. Two years ago, the product line was acquired by Teledyne and represents the portables segment of their Environmental Monitoring Division, which also includes Detcon, Simtronics, and Oldham. Protege ZM and PS200 sensor PS200 sensor measures levels of four gases – methane, oxygen, carbon monoxide, and hydrogen sulfide Another sensor among Teledyne’s range of handheld devices is the Protégé ZM, a carbon monoxide sensor that a fireman can clip to their helmet, pocket, or bag. The “disposable” device has a 24-month lifespan, requires zero maintenance, and provides a calibration and bump test. The PS200 sensor measures levels of four gases – methane, oxygen, carbon monoxide, and hydrogen sulfide. An internal pump extracts a sample before a firefighter enters a confined space. A charge, bump, and calibration station (ABC Station) ensures calibration on a weekly, monthly, or twice-yearly basis. PS500 and GT Fire sensor The PS500 model adds another sensor to the four – typically either a photoionization detector (PID) for volatile organic compounds such as benzene, or a hydrogen cyanide (HCN) sensor to measure the presence of carcinogenic compounds that can be a byproduct of burning vinyl or plastics. The PID sensor can help investigators detect propellants that might indicate arson. The GT Fire sensor detects explosive gases in the PPM/LEL ranges with optional CO, H2S, and O2 sensors. The device can sniff out small gas leaks before any LEL level is reached. Able to find leaks in the PPM range, the device can pinpoint exactly where gas is leaking.
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