Concealment brings hidden benefits
The concealed door closer has long been the designer’s choice when it comes to retaining the aesthetics of an interior, with Samuel Heath’s Powermatic door closers establishing a reputation for being the automatic choice for those wishing to preserve the appearance of a door and/or interior design.
Where surface-mounted door closers feature unsightly control arms and mechanical boxes that spoil the appearance of doors and interiors, Powermatics fit neatly between the door and frame. They are completely invisible when the door is closed and particularly unobtrusive when the door is open, presenting little more visible surfaces than a door hinge.
British designed and manufactured, the Powermatic range currently features two models – the original controlled, concealed door closer and Powermatic Free Swing.
Both door closers are CE marked and have been engineered to meet the industry’s requirements for fire and accessibility, with independent certification providing the assurance of performance, quality and reliability demanded by architects and control officers.
The benefits of enhanced aesthetics are recognised not only in high-end, design-conscious interiors, such as hotels and luxury apartments, but also in other applications, such as mental health facilities and care homes, where visible mechanical devices can create an undesirable, functional atmosphere that instils feelings of institutionalisation.
Other benefits that ensue from the concealment offered by Powermatic door closers include enhanced reliability, improved hygiene and heightened safety, thanks to a reduced risk of vandalism and ligature. These benefits become clearer when one considers the challenges faced by the products’ application in the various sectors of the building industry.
The risk of a surface-mounted door closer being damaged is particularly high in most educational establishments, whether schools, colleges, universities or accommodation units – the protruding arms and control boxes that are so evident with such devices can present a very tempting target for the would-be vandal or prankster.
Damaged door closers not only cost money to replace, but can also render a fire door ineffective, with potentially dire consequences in the case of fire.
Additionally, whilst not a risk immediately associated with mainstream educational establishments, the risk of door closers being used as a point of ligature might also be a consideration in product selection.
Powermatic concealed door closers remove much of the temptation and opportunity for vandalism or misuse, reducing the likelihood of increased costs for repair and replacement and making facilities safer and more reliable.
Health and care
In many ways, the healthcare sector benefits from the use of Powermatic in a similar fashion to the education sector. However, due to the variety of situations encountered and specialist needs of health and care facilities, the case for using Powermatic is more emphatic in three key areas of safety, hygiene and comfort.
From the safety perspective, in addition to the implications that a vandalised door closer might present, specialist areas of the health sector, such as psychiatric care, demand that particular attention be paid to the safety of vulnerable people.
Anti-ligature solutions are vital in many such areas, and Powermatic can make a valuable contribution in reducing the opportunity for self-harm. For instance, it reduces the temptation and opportunity for use as a point of ligature and can be mounted within 300 mm of the bottom of the door. As a result, Powermatic is the preferred door closer for many continuous hinge anti-ligature solutions and is also recommended for use in anti-barricade systems, which prevent a patient locking themselves, and others, in a room.
Hygiene and cleanliness are vital in every health establishment. With minimal surface exposure to the environment the jamb-mounted closer attracts very little detritus when in service. This feature and its low mounting height (normally no higher than the centre point of the door) make cleaning procedures and inspection regimes quick, easy and effective.
The concealed door closer can also make a valuable contribution towards the well-being of a health establishment’s clients.
In both frontline health services and provision of care for the elderly and mentally ill, there is broad recognition that providing a homely, less clinical atmosphere aids recovery and enhances the lives of the service’s consumers. The concealed door closer can help to create a less institutionalised appearance to interiors, making for a more therapeutic environment as well as enhancing comfort.
Powermatic Free Swing is particularly well-suited to the care home market, as it allows residents and staff to leave doors open during normal use without compromising fire safety regulations.
Enhanced aesthetics are probably the main reason that architects and designers specify Powermatic door closers for hotel applications, although many of the health, safety and well-being considerations are also relevant.
From a practical perspective, the jamb-mounted closer can contribute towards sound insulation. Tests undertaken for architects on one high profile project showed that Powermatic offers some advantage over other concealed closing devices.
Furthermore, the absence of protruding mechanical control arms and surface mounted boxes means that a jamb-mounted door closer offers an ideal solution in situations where door clearance is restricted, such as with 90° reveals.
In addition, the jamb-mounted closer’s position within the door facilitates quick and easy fine-tuning, unhindered by the restricted headroom experienced in some guestroom reveals.
Offices and other commercial developments will undoubtedly benefit from the enhanced aesthetics achievable by using Powermatic. However, the door closers are particularly favoured by designers and their clients where raised access floors are present, as they offer a viable alternative to potentially costly floor-mounted door closing devices.
As with educational establishments and other public buildings, the risk of damage through vandalism is ever-present in private and social housing developments.
Opting for Powermatic door closers in housing projects, particularly homes in multiple occupation, apartments and flats, offers significant benefits in costs, convenience and safety, both to those responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of properties, as well as for the residents themselves.
Heritage & refurbishment
Powermatic door closers are highly suited to heritage and refurbishment projects, as they facilitate the introduction of modern fire safety, accessibility and convenience features, whilst enabling historically significant, features and finishes to be retained.
Powermatic also provides a simple and extremely effective solution where shaped door heads prevent the use of overhead door closers or where floor-mounted devices require the excavation of floors.
The benefits of enhanced aesthetics, improved safety and increased reliability are desirable across all sectors of the building industry. Powermatic and Powermatic Free Swing offer the performance, reliability and versatility to deliver many benefits, possibly in hitherto unseen circumstances. Considering the needs of clients and occupants of buildings is vital to maximising these benefits, and specifiers can benefit from Samuel Heath’s technical specification team when considering the selection and application of door closers for specific projects.
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