Covid safe by design: the future of architectural hardware in the fight against COVID-19
With the world now reopening, we have several new additions to our growing product ranges. Things that will prevent and reduce transmission to keep us all as safe as can be. With a variant of covid set to hang around for the foreseeable, many places are looking at what they can do in the collective fight against the spread of this invisible virus.
What does coronavirus have to do with architectural ironmongery and interior design?
When looking at the link between ironmongery and covid it’s a simple but possibly overlooked one. It’s the architectural ironmongery that encounter lots of grubby little hands, especially in high traffic areas.
It’s the door handles and push plates that people touch the most when entering a building. With consideration, there are a number of things available to reduce transmission points. Whether that’s through prevention or mitigation measures – this can be achieved through hardware choices.
So what do we mean by this?
- Naturally antiviral/antibacterial hardware using unlacquered copper and brass
- Anti-microbial coatings on door handles to reduce virus spread
- Hands free door pulls
- Hand sanitisers with award winning design
- Reducing touch points with automatic doors and touchless access control – RFID entry
- Flow control door systems to limit numbers
Naturally antiviral/antibacterial hardware using unlacquered copper and brass
Copper has long been lauded as the thing to combat viruses and bacteria. As you’d expect, it has so much research behind it – even for combating the superbugs often found in hospitals (MRSA, E. Coli, Norovirus) and now for combating coronavirus.
Looking at MRSA as an example, a grouping of 100 million MSRA bacteria died in just 90 minutes when placed on a copper surface at room temperature. The same study showed that the number of MRSA bacteria on both steel and aluminium surfaces actually increased over time.
Many Scientists have said that the installation of copper based architectural hardware and fixtures could literally be life-saving due to stopping the transmission of these superbugs. This is especially true when copper or copper alloys such as brass are used on door handles, door knobs, pull handles, push plates and window fittings.
Professor Bill Keevil, Head of Microbiology at Southampton University has been testing the antimicrobial effect of copper on coronavirus and advocates the use of copper in hardware for the NHS, public buildings and public transport as they are high traffic areas and relatively difficult to clean regularly.
It’s important to note that for the antiviral properties to work, the copper or brass alloy can’t be lacquered – it must be the raw element as such without any additional coatings.
View our door furniture options: Ironmongery
Anti-microbial coatings on door handles to reduce virus spread
Not all antimicrobial coatings are created equal. We use an antimicrobial coating that is:
- thoroughly tested produced by the market leader, Biocote
- backed by a 5 yr guarantee of its effectiveness
- It enables the architectural finish underneath to be retained
- Can be applied to anything (within reason!)
It can be reapplied every 5 years if desired.
What would you apply it to?
This would commonly be applied to door handles, push plates, window casements and access controls. This could also be applied to extra elements such as bed guards, bed rails and IV stands within a hospital setting.
What’s the difference between anti-bacterial coatings and anti-microbial coatings?
Anti-bacterial coatings give you protection against just bacteria
A bacteria is something like E. Coli, MRSA, Salmonella, Campylobacter and Listeria. Bacteria are generally treated using antibiotics, however some such as MRSA are becoming increasingly antibiotic resistant – hence why MRSA is commonly referred to as a superbug.
Anti-microbial coatings give you protection against viruses, bacteria, fungus and mould
Scientifically speaking, microbes are micro-organisms that encompass both viruses and bacteria, as well as fungus and mould.
Therefore, when you get an anti-microbial coating, you get something that can fight a broad spectrum of assailants.
This means an anti-microbial coating is designed to protect against viruses like colds, flu and coronavirus – as well as fungus and bacteria like the superbugs found in hospitals. Viruses in particular are easier to destroy outside of the body – on surfaces they can be attacked on a cellular level.
How much does antimicrobial coating on handles cost?
You may be wondering how much this will affect the bottom line of the project. You may be pleasantly surprised. It depends on the surface area of what you’re coating and how complex it is. It’s also relative to how much your handles are to begin with; the important thing to note is that we can work within your budget to incorporate an antimicrobial coating.
Where is it being used?
Hotels, Offices, Hospitals, Schools, Care Homes, Leisure facilities, Hospitality. It’s being used in more places as people see it as an investment to protect their staff, visitors and patients.
With common applications including door handles, hand-rails, push plates, door pulls, automatic door buttons, cylinder turns, escutcheons, casement and sash window hardware.
With quarantines in place for those in contact with those that test positive in the current pandemic, and with an extra preventative measure available it seems a fair upgrade – especially if it can be worked into the price of updates.
Hand sanitisers – RedDot design winning design available in different finishes
Our RedDot award winning soap/hand sanitiser dispenser is available in 8 different finishes as standard to tie into any design theme. Available as wall mounted, or floor or table standing there are solutions for any requirements.
We also have matching bathroom and living accessories, including everything from toilet brushes to paper and tissue dispensers: view the full range here >
Hands free door pulls
With the extremely safety conscious avoiding door handles at all costs, some designers have risen to the challenge by designing hands free door pulls.
Reducing touch points with automatic doors and touchless access control – RFID entry
Reducing touch points all-together has been a strategy adopted by a number of customers recently. For example, a large hotel has just implemented automatic doors for their kitchen area. This eliminates the need for un-necessary door touching – operating theatres are also adopting automatic doors with a touchless switch to improve hygiene control, coupled with safety sensors that eliminate the need for finger guards that are seen as a hygiene risk.
We also have a range of access control systems including RFID tags or proximity readers that negate the need for keypad use that can be controlled centrally using one or multiple computers.
There are also touch-free release options for the opposite side of the door instead of a push button such as a wireless RFID receiver.
Contact our expert on door automation and access control systems
Flow-control automatic door systems
Our flow control automatic door systems are specifically designed to monitor and regulate capacity levels. Showing whether the building is at capacity visually through the use of lighting strips has been adopted by numerous shops and supermarkets, with the added ability of shutting the doors until the capacity levels drop to let new people in again.
Contact our expert on door automation and access control systems