Buying Guide for First Time Owners of Automatic Doors
Like buying anything in life, there are 100's of choices of supplier and product. Just like buying a TV or washing machine, certain products have more features or are built for longer life.
Now the phrase "You get what you pay for" is not always true, but it should be a clear indicator if you have received two quotations which seem to be miles apart in price.
The most common misconception is that a door is a door. Having worked in the automatic door Industry for over 10 years I can tell you this is not true. The most common cost cutting procedure I see from companies is not fitting certain items.
For example, the installer may not quote / fit Side screen safety sensors, leave off signage or not fit an expensive barrier.
Now this may seem good at first as the price can come down by £100's. The problem lies in that you may be left liable in the event of an accident.
The Automatic door industry only really has one safety Indicator to measure the standard against. This is the British Standard 7036: 1996. This British standard sets out the correct equipment and setup that your door should be in order to comply.
Now this standard is not Law, but as per the Machinery directive it is the owner's responsibility to make sure that it is of correct standard and kept fully maintained. Rest assured if there was an accident any judge in the county would use this standard as a base to assess if your door system makes the grade.
The Automatic door association runs regular testing programs for automatic door engineers in the UK, where they test the knowledge of the Engineer to confirm he understands the standard the door should be installed to. Each engineer that passes is supplied with a unique ADSA Number to confirm their competence.
Please ask you Installation Company for their Engineers ADSA numbers to assure your door are being installed to the correct model and confirm them with the Association.
The other thing to look out for is the Quality of the equipment being installed. Fitting a door should be a once in a lifetime job. Although all Companies should offer you a min 12 Month warranty, the Major components in a door should have a life of 2-6 Years. This will depend greatly on the traffic flow / frequency of door use. Consumables need changing at various times dependant on the manufacturer's specification.
Please be aware, fitting a cheaper system may seem appealing in the short term but £1000's of pounds worth of repair bills every year is not!
The other Key areas your door should be aligned with are the Disability discrimination act and Part M of the Building Regulations. To go through each standard in full here would take pages upon pages so please consult the relevant bodies for full details, an experienced architect or ask your Installation Company for full details. Please see References at the bottom of this article for information.
I can't write about everything you need to know when buying an automatic door, but here are some Key questions to ask when getting a quotation to steer you in the right direction.
Does your quote include all relevant signage to comply with the BS7036: 1996?
Does the Clear opening space of the door and the vision panels correspond with the requirements set out in Part M of the
What is my guarantee on the door and how long in your experience do the major components last before requiring replacements?
Do the Sensors meet the minimum requirement of the BS7036: 1996
Is the threshold height low enough to comply with Part M?
Does the quote include one of the following safety features to protect the area where the doors slide over:
Side screen safety Sensors Barriers Pocket Screens
Swing Automatic doors
Do the doors Swing into an open space where you can approach the open leaf from the side? If so have you allowed for Barriers?
Have you quoted for Door Mounted safety sensors?
Does the Quotation include for Finger Protection devices that stop people jamming their fingers in between the back edge of the door and the frame when the door closes?
Please think carefully about these points before accepting a quotation for a new door system. An automatic door can be an investment welcoming your customers / staff but it can often add up to the same price as a small family car.