Thursday 1 March 2018

Access for all: Lottery funding gives Audlem Public Hall a new lease of life

The Audlem Public Hall in Cheshire was built in 1904 and although an important, well-loved building in the village, it was no longer meeting the needs of the local community. 

After being granted a substantial sum from the Big Lottery Fund in May 2016 and raising £100,000 from the local community, work began to extend and refurbish the building. The addition of ‘The Annexe’ meant that the building also required new door automation to ensure that everyone in the community could use and enjoy the public hall.

Bower Edleston Architects, the architecture practice working on the project, turned to Washington and Riley, an architectural hardware specialist, for help with the door automation in addition to the standard architectural ironmongery. 
“We knew that the public hall was going to be used frequently by a range of people with different physical capabilities,” said Jason Thompson, director of Washington and Riley. “We had already provided the door hardware schedule to Bower Edleston before being asked to supply the additional access control elements for two doorsets. That’s when we enlisted the help of HOPPE (UK).”

“Washington and Riley has worked with HOPPE (UK) for the best part of 20 years and we’ve always had a good relationship with both the external sales team and the guys in the office. Nigel Gray is our ‘go to guy’ for all things access control so we knew he could support us with this project.” 
For this project, HOPPE (UK) worked with a third-party installer, System13. After completing an initial risk assessment to examine the doors’ location, suitability and practicality, System13 carried out the installation, including full safety features and wireless push pads.

HOPPE (UK) specified the AR/E-0548-010 Swing Door Drive Unit as it has a range of features that allow people of all physical abilities to move through the building with ease, making it the ideal solution for public places.

Nigel Gray, access control manager at HOPPE (UK), said:
“As an intelligent operator, the Swing Door Drive Unit adjusts its power to accommodate poor weather conditions and can increase its own power by up to 15%. For facilities managers, this means minimal maintenance and cost as they don’t have to call an installer to make any power adjustments to the unit. 
“The other big benefit for public buildings is that it can be fitted with safety sensors. These sensors are triggered when someone is standing in the path of the door. The door drive unit will not allow the door to open or close until they are completely out of range, helping to keep all building users safe.”

In order to keep building users safe in the event of a fire, the door system has been linked to the fire alarm. If the fire alarm is activated, the power to the automatic door is cut. This stops the doors from opening automatically and enables them to operate as standard doors, helping to prevent the spread of flames, smoke and toxic gases without stopping people leaving the building.

The Annexe was officially opened on 18 November 2017 by the High Sheriff of Cheshire, Sarah Callander Beckett.

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