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News archive - February 2016

Making an entrance

Making an entrance

Revolving doors are a common sight in large commercial buildings where there is a high footfall, including hospitals, where these solutions are increasingly being specified.

Originally invented in 1888 by Theophilus van Kannel from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, they usually consist of three or four doors, known as ‘wings’, spaced at equal distance from each other around a central shaft.

These wings rotate in a circle inside a cylinder, the size of which can vary from small, allowing for just enough space for a single user; to a larger size that allows enough room for several people or pushchairs to fit in.

In recent years hospitals have begun to recognise the advantages of specifying revolving doors over traditional hinged or sliding entrance systems.

“Not only are they more energy efficient than regular doors, but they help to keep the cost of heating and cooling to a minimum, vital for cash-conscious healthcare operators,” said a spokesman for manufacturer, Boon Edam.

“When users open a regular manual door, a large amount of air can escape a building. The installation of a revolving door can help to eliminate this, and the amount of air that escapes. In this way, drafts are reduced and lobby areas are kept at a comfortable temperature.”

In colder climates, such as seen in the UK, the difference can be quite significant.

Revolving doors are particularly important in tower blocks and multi-storey hospitals that have lifts. Where there are traditional doors, air enters from outside, through the open door, through the elevator doors, up the elevator shaft, and out the vents into higher rooms and out into the atmosphere. Revolving doors act as a draft block, preventing this chimney effect of sucking air in at high speeds and ejecting it through vents in the roof.

Another key feature of revolving doors is that they allow more people to enter and exit buildings at a quicker rate while avoiding bottlenecks and collisions.

In addition, healthcare architects often opt for a revolving door to assist with the soundproofing of a lobby area as they help to keep out unwanted street noise and eliminate the sound of slamming doors.

It was for this reason that a bespoke Duotour revolving door with integrated curved corridors was commissioned from Boon Edam to improve flow into and through Southern General Hospital’s main entrance.

The spokesman said: “Through this installation, the entrance to the hospital not only looks aesthetically pleasing, but also serves as a multi-functional entrance to the prestigious building.

“Users of the hospital are now able to flow more quickly and smoothly through this mobility hotspot.”

For specifiers, there are several things to bear in mind when choosing a revolving door, with several types to choose from.

High-capacity models usually consist of two or three wings to optimise internal heating and cooling costs. There are also compact versions, all-glass systems, and access-controlled options.

Access-controlled doors are ideal for situations where the door needs to be open, but locked, or opened without sacrificing climate control or increasing energy costs.

“By providing complete separation of the indoor and outdoor environments, these revolving doors can help reduce noise as well heating and/or cooling costs,” said an Assa Abloy spokesman.

But NHS technical guidance warns that, while revolving doors have the advantage of preventing through draughts, they can prove expensive.

Hospitals will also need to provide a second, automatic sliding door as an alternative option. They must also be easily converted to outward-opening doors, or a second, more-traditional door should be fitted for use in the event of a fire.

Maintenance and cleaning is also a consideration, particularly if matting is put inside revolving door sections.

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