Openers – Position Matters

So, this is gonna be a short post. It’s been awhile, again, but sometimes some things need to be said. Let’s start at the beginning;

This is a door;

When the door opens, it rests at a 90 degree angle from the door frame, covering approximately 39″ of wall, like this;

These are things that those with even a rudimentary understanding of radius, angles and general math understand. I’m not telling you anything new.

Consider that we are about to install an automatic opener on the doors. The decision we are trying to make is where to put the buttons that control the door from the swing side. Since more technicians are upwardly mobile, the thought process is probably not as developed as it should be. This is reflected in a lot of the installs we see, and this is creating an issue.

This is what a fully mobile individual looks like when the door is fully open;

Someone standing upright, requiring little to no mobility assistance comes to push the button and… yep. Works fine. Door opens without obstruction. However;

You can see, those who sit during all of their mobile activities cover a much bigger footprint than those who do not. Much, if not all, of their body is in front of them, not below them. Add to that distance the foot rests or wheels on a scooter. Consider also that because they are unable to lean to push the button, they must position themselves closer to the opening area of the door.

I have actually heard people say “That’s okay. They can just back up”.

Any access or control buttons need to be far enough back from the edge of the open door to allow a full swing without forcing those pushing the button to move. These specifications are included in the building and installation guides for the openers.

This is something we see a lot. A lot a lot. An install that results in this does not serve it’s intended purpose. It’s something the owner and the property manager of the building should be concerned with. And it should be fixed.

In time these issues will no longer be issues, because the button placements will become second nature. But for now, as installers, we need to think twice about who we are impacting when we put these controllers in.


14 Responses to “Openers – Position Matters”

  1. Those of us not needing wheelchairs and scooters just look at those buttons as “handy” when our hands are full. But you are right. Those who do need them do need to be able to be clear of the opening door. The button needs to be further away from the door so the person doesn’t have to manipulate their chair to use it. Good point. Thank you.

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