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DORMA provides climate barrier at windy Allerton High School

DORMA provides climate barrier at windy Allerton High School

Making a good first impression is crucial at new educational buildings, so the specification of entrance doors is absolutely vital. However, entrance doors are about far more than just aesthetics – with functionality and performance minimum requirements to ensure safety, security and comfort for students, teachers and staff alike.

At Allerton High School in West Yorkshire, the original specification of automatic door operators on the main entrance simply did not make the grade. Unable to cope with the site’s excessively windy conditions, the operators were not fit for purpose and didn’t close the doors properly, leading to draughts, increased demand on the heating system, reduced staff comfort levels and potential security risks.

It was then that they turned to DORMA for help. As part of its energy saving product features to reduce environmental impact, the DORMA ED250A is the only automatic swing door operator with integrated wind-load capabilities; it automatically recognises and compensates for wind loads up to 150 N – making it the ideal solution for Allerton High School.

A lesson in specification

Built by Interserve Education, the new-build Allerton High School included a sports hall, fitness, activity and drama studios, wireless connectivity enabling ICT provision in every classroom and the first BSF school purpose-built multi-faith centre. However, within just one year of its official opening the building’s stylish new double entrance was proving problematic.


With two sets of automatic swing doors serving the entrance unable to adapt to windy conditions and close properly, DORMA was consulted as a company with a reputation for product reliability and functionality.

DORMA makes the grade

The ED250A has a long life cycle, (tested to 1,000,0000 cycles), and a low noise electromechanical operator – important in a building with a heavy traffic flow, while the Wind Load Control is integral to the door’s correct functioning on external doors. Suitable for doors with a weight of up to 250kg and a width of 1600mm, DORMA also provides an easy-to-install integrated door coordinator for double leaf doors.

Wind load is a real problem for exterior swing doors, as the wind can act against them and affect performance, especially in the case of electrohydraulic operators, which have an inflexible closing force tied to their current spring force adjustment. This lack of a wind load control leads to the costly loss of precious energy from the building and can lead to unauthorised access – especially concerning in the case of Allerton High School and its 1,000 students.

With safety and security paramount, the DORMA ED250A’s Wind Load Control feature automatically compensates for wind loads with a force of up to 150N by tailoring the door’s driving behaviour appropriately to the prevailing weather conditions, while the adjustable electronic latching action helps the door to close properly, eliminating wind load problems and helping to reduce the building’s carbon footprint.

Initially, only one set of the existing problematic operators was replaced to observe the difference in operation between those fitted with DORMA’s ED250A. The superiority of the ED250’s and their suitability for the job was immediately apparent, showing the importance of correct product specification.

The second set of existing doors was subsequently replaced with DORMA ED250A ensuring the doors are now able to close properly, reducing heat loss and draughts, and most importantly, the school is secure and safe.

Fully tested and compliant

The ED250A can also withstand extreme cold weather with its integrated Initial Drive Control, which detects and compensates for weather-related irregularities in the door’s performance, allowing its operation to remain smooth at all times. In addition, the DORMA ED250 is CE marked, and fully tested and compliant with multiple UK and International standards.

Providing secure and reliable operation in line with the client’s demands and legal responsibilities, they also offer ease of access for all building users in line with Approved Document M.

With environmental impact also a major concern, the DORMA ED250A once again proved ideal. The contemporary design reduced the material required during its production by almost 40% compared to the previous generation of DORMA electro hydraulic door operators. Consequently, its lower weight and features such as the Energy Saving Mode function and the integrated Wind Load Control system make positive impact on the reduction of unnecessary CO2 emissions.

One of the most demanding internal environments, educational buildings present a number of specification challenges. This case highlights the importance of specifying the correct product first time, as not doing so is costly, inconvenient, and in this case with the security risk involved, potentially dangerous. The initial doors were not fit for purpose, blighting an otherwise impressive new school building.

The success of the DORMA ED250A installation at Allerton High School is further proof that when it comes to automatic door entrances, there is no room for compromise. With the highest quality products from the start, architects and contractors can create learning environments which are built to last – and will continue to deliver outstanding performance for generations.

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