Access is important. If people find it hard to get into stores or other businesses, they will almost certainly head to competitors that make the task easier. It's also a legal consideration. If stores don't make their premises accessible to everyone, they could be liable under anti-discrimination legislation.
A faulty door or a poorly laid out handrail could be the cause of a hefty fine. Both of these reasons make it vital for shops to think about how customers approach their entrances. Here are some basic guidelines that will help to attract visitors and keep you on the right side of the law.
Make Your Doorways Wheelchair Friendly
Australian law is very clear about what constitutes an acceptable doorway. It has to allow people in wheelchairs or dependent on crutches or sticks to enter the building. It also has to be light and easy to open, with easy-to-manipulate door handles. It should also include visual elements like colour-contrasting strips that make it clearly visible to the visually impaired.
These requirements are pretty simple. They suggest that larger doorways with automatic mechanisms are preferable. Try to avoid steep inclines on the approaches and supply ramps if necessary. It's also important to provide a high-grip mat on both sides of the door to prevent slipping. If you need to include a rotating doorway (as in some hotels and larger shops), this must include a standard horizontal doorway close by to allow wheelchair users to enter.
Replace Standard Doors With Automatic Doors
Unless you sell small volumes of relatively light products like sweets or magazines, your customers will probably prefer automatic doors to the old-fashioned manual variety. Medium sized grocery stores and cafes can boost their visitor numbers by upgrading their access arrangements. That way, customers will know that exiting with hot drinks or heavy shopping bags won't be an issue. It may seem like a marginal gain, but over time this slight increase in convenience has a huge effect. It also draws in less mobile or disabled customers who struggle with manually operated doors.
Ensure Automatic Doors are in Good Working Order
Many stores install the right kind of doorways to accommodate disabled customers, but fail to keep them in good condition, leading to access problems. Regularly check the sensors on your doors to ensure they pick up customers of different heights. They may be able to detect standing individuals but not wheelchair users.
Another basic check is to let the doors open as normal and hold your hand over the detection beam. The doors should remain open without starting to shut. When doors fail to shut as required or shut too quickly, this can be a safety risk for all customers. If you notice this, it's best to call in automatic door repair technicians to assess your doorways.
Upgrading your access arrangements may not be the difference between commercial success and failure, but it's one of many areas that shops can improve their performance. On top of that, it also ensures compliance with disability legislation and makes your premises more user-friendly for elderly customers - both major positives. So there are plenty of reasons to fix your old automatic doors, buy new ones and ensure that your portals all comply with legal requirements.