When are Automatic Door Openers Required?

There is a complaint that the new City Hall in Dickinson, Texas does not have an automatic opener, causing difficulty for some (at least one) user.  Here is the original article:

Handicapped resident complains about new city hall

Fire Marshall Hicks is correct that automatic door openers are not required.  Although, door openers are a real convenience, they are not required by the Texas Accessibility Standards or the ADAAG.
However, automatic openers are often installed on doors to address other accessibility issues.
Doors are required to have level areas on either side of the door to permit a wheelchair, scooter or stroller user to maneuver close enough to the door to turn the lever and pass through.  These maneuvering clearances vary depending on the approach to the door and the type of hardware provided.
Front approach maneuvering clearance at accessible doors.

Front approach maneuvering clearance at accessible doors.

Although the maneuvering clearance is required to be level (1/4″ per foot maximum slope), construction errors or existing conditions will sometimes result in slopes that exceed the allowable slope.  Rather than jack-hammering out all of the concrete, the owner can install an automatic opener.  The minimum maneuvering clearances are not required at doors that are equipped with openers.
If you install a door opener, the push-button (if provided) is required to be on an acessible route and have a level clear floor space (30″ by48″).  And please don’t place the push-button within the swing of the door.
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2 Responses to When are Automatic Door Openers Required?

  1. Mark Tect says:

    Isn’t the push button supposed to be centered on the 30″ x 48″ clear floor space while also not placing the user in the swing of the automatic door? Assuming a frontal approach to a reverse opening 3′ wide door, the button would have to be placed at least 5′ back away from the face of door when closed. It’s probably best to place the button on the wall adjacent to the latch side of the door in that type of situation.

    • jeromymurphy says:

      There is nothing in the Standards that prohibits the door swinging into the clear floor space at a push button, but doing so is not good design. Keeping the button further away from the door as you described is a better design.

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