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Entrances and Framing

Advancements in Commercial Entrances

03:11:02 PM on 03/03/2010

Over the last few years there has been an increased emphasis on improving the energy efficiency and thermal performance of a building. As a result, we have seen the development of doors that are truly thermally broken vs. the cladding approach to achieve thermal performance.  In the near future, with the increasing requirements of energy codes, we should expect thermally broken doors to become the norm or standard in the northern climate zones.  However, true thermally broken doors and immediate door frames offer design challenges.  The thermal break itself can make it difficult to install standard hardware without making modifications.  In some cases the hardware would actually short circuit the thermal break. Moving forward, advances in thermal break technology and hardware application are areas of opportunity.


Additionally, the availability and increased use of access hardware is another advancement to entrance systems.  The security of buildings and the occupants has become ever more important. To gain entry, increasing interest and use of hardware such as slimmer automatic operators, availability and style of card readers, key pads, bio-scripts is requested daily.


Combining thermally broken doors with access control hardware is the direction commercial entrances are headed. Over the course of my career I have seen many changes in the design of entrances.  Aesthetically, we have gone from a bulky look, to a sleeker look, to the all glass look, and back to the more bulky look. Functionally, changes have occurred due to the many code requirements such as ADA, hurricane resistance and blast mitigation.  Additionally, hardware options have improved over time. Years ago it seemed there were only one or two manufactures that made quality high-end door hardware, today many companies offer a wider variety of quality hardware lines.


I've shared my thoughts with you. Now let me know what you think. What do you see as the biggest advancements made to commercial entrances? What changes do you see coming for future entrance design?


Donnie


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