Comments attributed to: Paul Smith, Head of Specification Sales at Häfele...
“With the hospitality sector hit particularly hard by the coronavirus pandemic, there has been much speculation about how hotels in particular will adapt to survive.
“Primarily, hotels are looking at how they can reduce the number of interactions guests have with staff and other people around a building, as well as surfaces and doors. To reduce touchpoints, hotels are integrating contactless access control and remote check-in technologies. Systems such as Dialock, the advanced door and furniture locking system from Häfele, uses Bluetooth in combination with an app to act as a digital key, offering contactless access to bedrooms and other facilities within a hotel. It can also link to automatic sliding or swinging door systems, enabling safe and simple entry into and around the building itself. Not only does it improve convenience, but operators are able to work with a sleek and sophisticated piece of technology.
“Hotels which offer a variety of communal spaces – lobbies, shared working areas, bars, restaurants and meeting rooms – are being broken up to facilitate smaller numbers of people, and can benefit from using the Dialock products. The system can be used in conjunction with flow control technology to automatically limit the number of people entering a space at any one time, ensuring social distancing measures can be adhered to without human intervention.
“Additionally, for spaces where physical contact with handles and levers is unavoidable, new materials are being retrofitted to make it a much safer interaction. Ranges of newly configured door handles have been designed to facilitate use with an elbow, rather than with a hand, while other ironmongery items are manufactured using anti-microbial, natural materials, such as copper and bronze. These materials are EPA registered and could be used to minimise transmission of COVID-19, with copper ironmongery having previously been used to reduce the spread of MRSA and E. Coli.
“While it’s important to make buildings COVID-secure, it’s also essential that other elements of safety aren’t neglected. Wedging doors open may improve movement around a hotel and further minimise touchpoints of surfaces, but many of these will be life-critical fire doors which, if held open without the correct products in place to close them in the case of a fire, poses a huge risk. One such product that can be used to keep fire doors held open safely is an electromagnetic hold-open door closer, which keeps doors open in a safe and compliant manner until an alarm is triggered; from that point, the power to the hold-open unit is cut and the door automatically closes, providing a barrier to the spread of fire.
“The access and safety of a room isn’t the only current consideration for hotels; additionally, they must look at the functionality of rooms with guests now wanting them to serve multiple purposes. Many Hoteliers are looking at how they can reconfigure the internal space to provide apartments which cater better for a guest’s variety of needs. No longer just a place to sleep, rooms have had facilities added which have transformed them into offices, gyms and a place to eat all behind one door.
“It’s not just hotels where we’ll see a drive for contactless access and fewer human interactions; serviced apartments, offices and co-working spaces, residential buildings, student accommodation, universities and education institutes and more will all need to review the design and fit-out of their spaces to help reduce the number of people who pass each other and share facilities. Manufacturers are reacting quickly to the situation to ensure that architects and specifiers working on hospitality and leisure facilities are equipped with the fixtures and fittings they need to make spaces COVID-secure, as well as safe for the long term.”
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