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Easy Ways to Update an Office Building

Could the Trend of Working from Home be Coming to an End?

As more and more companies follow the lead of the likes of Amazon and Zoom on instructing workers to return to the office, talent lifecycle management platform Beamery found that 58% of UK workers had returned to their offices full-time.

This number is expected to increase as results from KPMG’s most recent annual CEO survey shows that 63% of UK bosses expect the five-day office week will return fully by 2026.

The change has sparked plenty of discussion about office design and how it’s necessary to re-think it to ensure workspaces are meeting the needs of teams, as well as ensure that these spaces are ready from a health and safety perspective.

Andrew Syms, business development manager at HOPPE (UK), discusses what specifiers need to consider when choosing architectural ironmongery for office refurbishment projects.

Check your Fire Doors and Emergency Exit Routes

In an emergency, the evacuation of a building needs to be as simple as possible. It is essential that building users can open doors quickly and easily so that everyone can leave safely, and door hardware plays a huge part in achieving this.

It’s important to understand the difference between emergency exit hardware and panic hardware. For an office refurbishment, you’re likely to need the former as this type of hardware is used when building users are familiar with exit routes and the building is not accessible to the general public.

Devices for emergency exits could be a simple push pad-type device or a lever handle that operates a mortice escape lock or nightlatch.

For the fire door side of things, any new fire door hardware must be equal to or better than the fire/mechanical performance of the door. To tell if a product is ‘like for like’, look at the tested elements and the certification for the products. Check what type of door the ironmongery is tested for use on; a product that has been fire tested for use on a FD30 is not suitable for use on a FD60. Most importantly, any replacement product supplied needs to be in line with the doors fire certification.

Remedial work should not include removal of intumescent materials from the door, unless damaged. Any replacement of hardware intumescent kits should be the exact same material, size and thickness and in line with the door’s fire certification.

Consider Accessibility Requirements

Since the pandemic, office workers’ accessibility needs may have changed, and it’s important to ensure that everyone who works in or is visiting the building can move around easily.

Fire doors can be difficult for people to use if they are not paired with the right door closer. As a piece of hardware that plays such a key role in balancing safety and accessibility, it’s crucial that the right closer is specified, properly installed and maintained. Door closers need to be powerful enough to ensure they close firmly in the latch but are still easy for everyone to open.

The HOPPE Cam-Action closer is a high efficiency door closer which offers lower resistance in opening forces, making it easier for those less physically able to open the door while still maintaining the correct closing power to ensure the door closes correctly in the event of a fire.

If the door must be held open, a compliant hold open device – such as an electromagnetic hold open device or a free swing device – must be used. It should never be manually propped open, as this will prevent the door from closing in the event of a fire.

Get your Office Prepared Quickly

If you’re short on time, think about changes that can quickly make a big impact.

Damaged door handles are one of the most common problems when it comes to architectural ironmongery; loose handles, missing parts and chipped wood around the fixings are a common sight. Repairing door handles can be a costly and time-consuming process.

However, there are solutions that can save time and money – including the HOPPE Quick-FitPlus handles. The extra-large square or round roses at 53mm and 55mm are ideal for renovation work as they may completely cover any signs of the old fittings.

Easy ways to update an office building
A HOPPE Quick-Fit Handle

They take around eight seconds to install and don’t require a carpenter; as long as the door has been drilled out to accept a standard lock and handle, anyone can fit the Quick-FitPlus handles using an alley key or screwdriver.

What’s more, a Quick-FitPlus rose is much thinner than standard roses, at only 2mm compared with between 6-8mm, providing a sleek, discreet handle to complement the wider office design.

In the battle to retain employees, who may be reluctant to return to the office following a period of working from the comfort of their own home, employees need to feel safe and comfortable in their working environment. Taking the time to focus on the finer details including fixtures and fittings can make all the difference.

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