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Sudhakar uPVC Windows and Doors

The requirement for automatic door hardware has increased specifically in this market after COVID-19

By: ABIS RIZVI, Doormax Building Material Trading LLC

What are the selection criteria for architectural hardware for façades & fenestrations?

The selection of ironmongery is not only limited to façades and windows but to all types of doors depending on certain criteria:

  • Specification: If the project follows ANSI or EN specs (Mostly these 2 specifications are considered in the Middle East)
  • Door Operation: Depending on the location of the door in the building as well as the required operation of the door. For example, if the door is in the fire escape route, then it should be equipped with egress hardware.
  • International Compliances: For example, there are several projects specifically in UAE which require sustainability and green building compliance so the selection of door hardware should be accordingly.
  • Local Life Fire and Safety Codes: In every country, they have its own life and fire safety codes. UAE is very strict about the codes defined in the UAE Fire and Life Safety Code of Practice. Authorities here do revise the codes and introduce new codes based on the requirement of the development.
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Since the door hardware is commercial, one of the smallest items in the whole construction project, most people do not give proper time and weightage in selecting this material. Unfortunately, on most of the projects (I am not talking about prestigious developments) but in general, selection criteria are price. That is why we face huge competition in the market with new brands every day.

What are the latest technologies in hardware products?

Nowadays, the door hardware industry has become very advanced. The requirement for automatic door hardware has increased specifically in this market after COVID-19. Door hardware manages the complete door operation and is also responsible for the life and fire safety of the building.

Countries like UAE are focused on sustainability and green building compliance so developers are interested to know the pre and post-consumer recycled content of the product that is why renowned manufacturers are focused to make compliant hardware.

Please tell our readers about the key safety parameters while selecting hardware.

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Nowadays, I consider it an easy selection. There are renowned international testing bodies that are testing the performance as well as (if required) suitability of using the hardware on fire-rated and egress doors. Everything is available on the web. For example, ANSI/BHMA A156 Series certifies the performance of hardware with regard to its functionality as well as security. It even defines the dimensions in detail. On their website, you have a list of all products which are certified in a different category. It is very easy to select the category and get the information on what brands are complying in this category.

Moreover, renowned manufacturers have other reputed third-party tests with regard to the performance of hardware, durability, security, usage on the fire-rated door, usage on egress routes, and coating of hardware in different finishes. Infect most renowned manufacturers are using the ecological method of coating the hardware in different finishes, etc.

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What are the test methods for deciding the quality of door & window hardware?

As I have mentioned in your earlier question, there are reputed and renowned third-party testing agencies who are testing the door hardware for its performance, durability, functionality, and suitability to use on fire and egress doors. Also, there are manufacturers who are following certified international manufacturing standards. During selecting the product, we just need to find out if the certifying agency of this product is reputed and if the manufacturer is manufacturing the material in their own facility/manufacturing units, and if they are following certified international manufacturing standards.

Moreover, I still believe that every project development/construction team should have a certified door hardware professional for the best selection of door hardware. Unfortunately, in every specification, it is demanded by the supplier that the supplier should have a certified door hardware professional but from the project SITE team, a such certified professional is never appointed. So, imagine, door hardware presented on a project by a certified door hardware professional is evaluated by an uncertified professional.

What are the challenges Faced by the Hardware Industry?

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What I had seen in this industry, I divide this industry into 2 segments.

  • Door Hardware Manufacturing Companies: These are very few, these are the companies who are manufacturing their products. That is why they are renowned for their quality, performance, and durability.
  • Door Hardware Procurement Companies: These are the companies, that claim to be the manufacturer of their product but unfortunately, they are manufacturing in a third-party facility and labelling the product on their name. This is mostly the segment where they are compromising on the quality of hardware to save some money.

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The biggest challenge is the second segment. This segment is a mushroom growth. Since, I defined earlier that there are projects who usually select the door hardware based on the prices they receive, on such projects, it is difficult to compete with the second segment. They compromise on quality and standards to meet the commercial requirement of the project.

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How do you see the role of automation in the hardware industry?

Automation has a great future in the hardware industry. Touchless door operation is getting famous in the market and it is the demand for many prestigious projects. Automatics is extremely essential to plan the smoke strategy in any building.

For example, as you are aware smoke is more dangerous than fire as it travels faster in the building and causes more damage to humans. During panic mode automatic is extremely important to provide ventilation to the building so that smoke should not be fatal to the human who is inside the building.

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Could you please talk about the fire safety aspect of the architectural hardware industry?

This is one of the most crucial topics. Wrong hardware on the door could lead to a disaster. In UAE it is very easy as the UAE Fire and Life Safety Code of Practice defines every single piece of hardware required on fire and life safety doors, one just needs to confirm the performance of the hardware which we discussed in earlier questions.

I would like to add in detail, as mentioned earlier, there are 2 specifications usually followed in the UAE market. ANSI (which tests the hardware on American Standards) and EN or BS (Which tests the hardware on British Standards). It is a known fact that ANSI standards and testing methods are more advanced and safe standards which are followed by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) which defines the way of testing a door for fire as well as the requirement of hardware on the doors which will be used to evacuate the building from fire escape routes. Selection of the right hardware as per the right door operation is important. The most important thing to remember, a door manufactured on ANSI standards and tested by UL for fire on NFPA80 standards cannot be equipped with British-tested standard hardware.

How do you see the future of the architectural hardware industry?

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Since the construction industry is learning every day about the importance of door hardware in the project, I am optimistic and positive about the good future of the door hardware industry. I believe that in the near future, the mushroom growth in this industry will have vanished and only quality products will remain in the market for competition.

ABIS RIZVI, Doormax Building Material Trading LLC

Sales and Technical Manager

ABIS RIZVI ,Sales and Technical Manager at Doormax Building Material Trading LLC (One Stop Solution For Door Hardware)

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Sudhakar uPVC Windows and Doors

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