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Commercial Handicap Door Openers and Automatic Swing Door Openers


Does the ADA Require Handicap Door Openers?

The question of door standards by ADA is divided into two sections: automatic doors and manual doors. The two sections can be found in section 404.2 and 404.3 of the ADA standards. An automatic door is not required if the manual door meets the following standards:

  • A maximum closing and opening speed (doors swinging towards a user should have a maneuvering clearance of at least 18 inches, and those swinging away have a 12-inch minimum maneuvering clearance)
  • A clear width
  • A door that operates without twisting the wrist, pinching, or tightly grasping the knob/handle

Automatic doors are used for convenience although there are places where the rules are stricter than national standards. However, every building should have at least one door favorable to people with disabilities, like emergency exit/escape routes, entrances to buildings from car parks, tenanted units in malls for easy access and maneuvering clearance.

The Handicap Accessible Door Width

When making doors, it is important to ensure that they are handicap accessible. The ADA requires that doorways have a clear minimum opening of 32 inches wide from the door's face to the opposite stop with the door being open at a 90 degrees angle and 80 inches in height. These requirements are set that way because wheelchairs usually range from 21 inches to about 40 inches; this being subject to whether it is a heavy-duty wheelchair or a narrow transport chair. A wheelchair should have enough space to maneuver.

It is also important to have a push plate actuator. A wireless push plate actuator instantly opens when you press the plate that reads “push to open,” usually engraved with a disability symbol, used with power door operators. The plate should be mounted on a wall or other smooth surface, ensuring that the plate's center is at arm level or about 42 inches above the floor.

The door handle can be 34 to 48 inches with nothing higher than that. Thresholds that are higher than 1/2 an inch are required to have a ramp. Push plates come in various finishes, including iron and brass, stainless steel, antique, usually classic designs recreated. The most common one is the stainless-steel fashion because the finish is quite durable.