Barrier-free construction – Gretsch-Unitas system solutions

Paving the way for the future

Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Lothar Marx, owner of the architecture office Marx and lecturer "Building for old and handicapped people" at the Technical University of Munich summarizes this as follows: "Our goal must be to detach barrier-free building from the topic complex "handicap" and to understand it instead as comfort, which is natural".

Barrier-free construction and barrier-free architecture mean comfort for everyone. Accessibility also benefits people who are only temporarily restricted in their mobility, such as parents with prams or small children, people transporting bulky purchases or luggage, or people temporarily restricted in their mobility, such as walking with crutches.

Anyone planning a building and integrating accessibility requirements into the design right from the start will find cost-effective or even cost-neutral solutions. This means a sustainable investment for the owner of the building.

Windows and doors have a special significance as movable and functional construction elements for barrier-free living, because they are used almost daily. The right planning and application is decisive for safety, function and economy. For this reason, the services offered by the GU Group include personal and competent advice, free online support and an extensive programme of specialist seminars. This makes everyday work easier for architects and planners.

For the GU Group, barrier-free construction means sustainable construction. This guarantees barrier-free access and comfort for every building user. In close cooperation with architects, planners and property developers, holistic solutions are created that are tailored to the protection goals and target groups. Comfortable operation and a representative appearance go hand in hand – an important basis for securing the value of the building in the long term.

In order to offer maximum comfort to all building users, all components must be coordinated and function properly. This is why the GU Group offers system solutions from a single source - from door thresholds to central building management systems, from window fittings to automated façade control.

The barrier-free lift&slide door

Lift&slide window doors dissolve the boundary between interior and exterior space and thus give a feeling of space and freedom. It therefore makes sense to combine these advantages with accessibility: Mechanical or electronic components from the GU Group guarantee a high level of comfort, including contactless operation – individual, flexible and functionally reliable.

The motorised HS ePOWER turns the lift&slide door into a completely barrier-free door: the operating element controls the opening and closing of the sliding leaf by touching it as in a smartphone. The GU ground sill smoothes the passage between inside and outside. The HS ePOWER is powered by a current transformer that automatically charges the batteries installed in the sash when it is closed. The battery life is designed in such a way that leaving the door open for many hours does not restrict its functionality and guarantees this even in the event of a power failure. In addition, the drive is equipped with a sensitive control system that detects obstacles and reliably prevents jamming. Barrier-free opening and closing of the lift&slide door at the touch of a button on the control element with self-explanatory symbols or by radio remote control: The small control centre for the home can control and operate up to four elements. The data is encrypted and securely transmitted via two-way radio.

House and window doors with the barrier-free system floor threshold

With the Comfort range, the GU Group offers flush-floor thresholds as a tested system solution for entrance doors, French windows and lift&slide elements, which offers a barrier-free solution with the same components and guarantees identical appearance for the door types mentioned. Architects and planners can now actually plan barrier-free and fabricators can build barrier-free without changing the production and processing.

Doors open automatically – close automatically

A further example of how the required safety at doors in public buildings and objects can be harmonized with the accessibility aspect - i.e. comfort for all building users - are swing door operators.

Fire and smoke protection doors must close automatically in the event of a fire. The automatic opening and closing of hinged doors ensures accessibility, comfort and safety, especially in public buildings. The advantages of the swing door operator are also used for entrance doors in the façade: Combined with a multipoint locking system, burglary protection and escape route security are achieved in addition to accessibility

With the swing door solutions of the GU Group, accessibility is easy to implement: Double-sided radar detectors and active infrared sensors ensure convenient and safe passage through the door without touching it. The passage area can be designed without thresholds and offers no trip hazards.

Patented double spring system for high closing force

Difficult structural conditions – such as draught, wind, overpressure in security locks or the need to overcome the mechanical resistance of seals or multiple locking systems - mean that doors cannot be reliably closed by swing door operators or door closers. This is when the force of the closing spring, which in typical swing door operators acts over the entire closing process, is weakest. If the closing force is set too high to circumvent the problem, the door slams into the lock.

For this reason, GU has developed and patented the DTN 80 swing door operator, which has not just one but two spring assemblies. The second only works shortly before the door closes, precisely when the higher closing force is required. The door closes safely and quietly.

The comprehensive product range of the GU Group offers building owners, architects and planners a high degree of flexibility: the hinged doors are available as single-leaf and double-leaf versions with large passage widths. This means that wide fire doors can also be planned and built barrier-free. A further advantage: the swing door operator can be installed in all frame materials, retrofitted to existing elements and combined with the motorised locks of the GU Group.

More information on the topic of barrier-free building