Doors

The minimum door size should be 107 cm (42 in) wide by 2.1 m (7 ft) high; however, nonhuman primate cages and ventilated high-density rodent cage racks may require wider and higher openings. Doors measuring 122 cm (48 in) wide by 2.4 m (8 ft) high frequently prove useful for animal rooms. If 8-ft high doors are provided for animal rooms, it is important to make certain that all doors in the facility through which the higher cage racks will be transported are also at least 8-ft high. This includes all corridor doors, doors in and out of the cage sanitation area, the rack washer doors, and dock doors. Stainless steel or fiberglass-reinforced polyester doorframes are the most cost-effective choice. They should have hospital stops to facilitate cleaning. Jamb guards may be mounted on the corridor side. There must be no doorsill, as this seriously impedes the movement of cage racks through the door.

Like the frames, stainless steel or fiberglass-reinforced polyester doors prove more cost-effective than less durable materials, including painted hollow metal doors. The doors should be sealed and have flush finished tops and bottoms. If the doors are not SS or fiberglass, they should be outfitted with stainless steel kick plates on both sides and edge guards on the strike side. Automatic drop bottoms should be surface-mounted on the animal room side of the door, leaving no gaps larger than 1/4 in. A view panel is highly desirable, if not essential, for security and personnel safety. Size and shape of the view panel is a matter of choice, but it should provide a clear view of the room from the corridor. Light control through the view panel may be desirable and can best be provided with carefully selected red laminated glass, e.g., 1/8 in clear annealed glass with an inner layer of Opti-Colorâ„¢ film #5557 (Monsanto Chemical Co., St. Louis, MO). Other options include a variety of solid blackout view panel coverings attached with magnets or hinges and latches, most of which are inconvenient and high maintenance. Hospital, lever-type door openers are a good choice. Push and pull plates should be mounted on both sides of the door. Strike plates should have a cup design. If fire codes permit, it may be preferable to eliminate the latch. If access to the animal room is controlled via a security system, magnetic locks are generally found to require less maintenance than electric strikes. Assuming that doors swing into the room, a crash rail extending the width of the door should be mounted just below the door handle on the corridor side and protrude away from the door enough to protect the door handle. A heavy-duty surface-mounted, self-closing door closer with variable delays and hold opens is essential. Hinges should be stainless steel, heavy-duty, standard, or continuous. Swing-clear hinges can be used to optimize door width. Door seals of various types may be required to control air movement around the door to facilitate balancing the ventilation system.

Automatic sliding or hinged doors should be provided in doorways with a high traffic of rolling stock, such as cage sanitation, the loading dock, and selected corridor doors. Depending on the situation, they may be opened with sensors that detect movement or with wall-mounted push plates or ceiling-mounted pull chords.

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