People making a contractual agreement

At your service: ensuring compliance

Jan 7, 2019
  • Article by Craig Wood

Want to take away all the headaches of reactive maintenance and upgrades for automatic doors and ensure compliance to relevant standards? Sign up for a service agreement from the get-go, advises Craig Wood.

Architecture is so much more than specifying the prettiest or latest products, handing your list over to the builder and then washing your hands of the whole affair. To ensure you are really giving your clients and partners the very best service and value for money, look to the future and how the products you’ve specified will perform in the long term.

Consider this: if you have an automated door in, say, a shopping centre, office building or bank, that door could be opening and closing literally thousands of times a day. And if anything is being used that often, it’s only a matter of time before it’s going to wear out or at least need a bit of TLC.

So do you wait for the inevitable to happen – the day when the door refuses to close or, worse, shuts on someone, possibly causing injury? Surely the smartest approach would be to consider prevention better than cure. Accordingly, most reputable suppliers of automatic doors will offer service agreements that comply with AS5007-2007 Powered doors for pedestrian access and egress) the standard for the product category. An optimal agreement will offer at least three preventative maintenance services per annum, while also offering reactive breakdown calls when and if necessary.

On top of that, doors, like any other piece of equipment, age, so upgrades and modernisations should also be part of the service agreement. To give a cohesive and standard response across the board, a nationally- based approach is ideal.

And if you work with a company that not only covers such a wide area but also has a significant number of service technicians in the field (dormakaba has 146 technicians nationally, with 84 service agents – the most in Australia), it’s easier to be assured that any potential issues are addressed before they even arise. With large numbers of technicians on call, it’s possible to provide a KPI service agreement, meaning prompt attendance and swift resolution of any problems.

Built to last

Another bonus of a nationwide program is access to technology like the erviceMax database, which contains all the assets and all the products that are in the field. With each technician equipped with an iPad, all of that information is continually accessible and can be updated on the fly.

The ServiceMax database enables the centralised operator to see where a technician is at any time and when they have arrived on-site. Daily, weekly and monthly reports can be provided to customers, showing them how many callouts they’ve had, how much they’ve spent and what upgrades they have received.

Typical service agreements are two- plus-one-plus-one or three-plus-one, meaning that the original two- or three- year contract comes with an option to extend by a year (and then another) built in, to save customers from the hassle of having to put the job out to contract every single year.

Benefits

For the layperson, the best way to understand the merits of signing up to a service agreement is to think of it in the same way you have your car serviced. Just as the wisest (or most organised!) among us get their car serviced two or three times a year, automatic doors require no less.

There is simply too much at stake not to. It’s vital to ensure that if there were a power failure in the building, the emergency egress would still work and the door would open. It’s also necessary to make absolutely sure that, for safety’s sake, the door won’t hit anybody.

And finally, you must ensure that all of its sensors are working and people are able to get in and out of the building whatever happens. This is a compliance issue. As part of preventative maintenance, it’s necessary to ensure that these three aspects of automatic door functions are working.

It comes under the NCC (National Construction Code – which used to be the BCA or Building Code of Australia). Most automatic doors are fully glass and don’t require you to lock them behind you when exiting, unlike your home. They have electric locking, which engages in a motor gearbox at the top. When you walk out, you press a button and the door closes and locks behind you.

Therefore, preventative maintenance ensures that this lock is always working and that there is battery back-up to provide security in the case of a power failure after hours. If someone gets hit by a door that isn’t working, litigation may ensue, or lock failure could result in people being trapped inside in the building – a potential risk not worth thinking about in the case of fire or other evacuation.

Thorough checks

Any service agreement worth its salt will be comprehensive and cover every possible eventuality. dormakaba offers a 35-point plan, the individual points of which fit into one of the following task types: site assessment and inspection, electrical safety inspection completed, mechanical inspection completed, operational inspection completed, site clean and housekeeping, activation and safety sensors inspection to AS5007, power supply system inspection to AS5007, ancillary devices inspection to AS5007, emergency exit device test to AS5007 and return to normal operating condition.

Compliance

Different jurisdictions call for different levels of compliance, with New South Wales being notable for its strict deadlines, requiring an annual compliance statement to the council for all points of egress – covering fire extinguishers, fire lighting, automatic doors. And the doors must be serviced within 90 days before the date given, which is why it’s best to have at least three services a year, in line with the standard.

Craig Wood is the corporate account manager for Service Australia at dormakaba, a content partner of AR.

This article originally appeared in AR158 – available online and digitally through Zinio.

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