Volume 28, Issue 5 - September/October 2014


Starting at the Front Door
Storefront Manual Focuses on Attractive, Secure Businesses
by Dean Lewis

The American Architectural Manufacturers Association’s (AAMA) new Aluminum Storefront and Entrance Manual (AAMA SFM-1-14) puts focus on aesthetics when it comes to the design and functionality of businesses. The attractiveness of such storefront and entrance installations is important, both from the standpoint of good architecture, and also of good merchandizing: attractive stores bring in customers and help sell merchandise.

The authors kept this philosophy in mind when writing the manual, providing up-to-date, technical information with the belief that it will be of value not only to architects, but to the architectural metals industry as well.

The guide’s information is presented in five sections:

• Terminology;
• Design information;
• Hardware;
• Engineering design; and
• Guide specifications.

Significant detail on a variety of door options is also covered, including entrance, swinging, sliding and revolving doors. Direction is offered on anodic and painted finishes, glass and glazing, current practices in structural sealant glazing, installation and other areas.

Barrier-Free Access

Requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) are also addressed in terms of providing barrier-free access to stores, referencing provisions specified in ANSI A117.1. These codes and regulations are in the interest of removing barriers to those with handicaps from taking part in the mainstream of public activity. They also call for buildings to be constructed with entrances effective for everyone. The document discusses low-opening force for doors, limited-energy automatic door openers, delayed-action door closers and hardware options for barrier-free doors.

Safe and Secure Entrances

Safety and security is covered in terms of design, and finding the balance between an aesthetically pleasing storefront, and one that also discourages forced entry or theft. Testing requirements ensure that entrances include safety factors, such as protection from the elements. The locking hardware section in particular goes into detail regarding theft prevention and hardware safety, durability, maintenance and compatibility.

Engineering Design

An entire section of the document goes into the current procedures for determining structural capabilities of storefront and entrance framing systems. Referencing the Aluminum Association’s Aluminum Design Manual, it seeks to provide a uniform approach to the engineering design of framing systems and reduces the area of engineering judgment to a minimum. The factors specified for calculation include load distribution and magnitude, section properties, strength, connections and deflection. Sample calculations are provided.

Along with all other AAMA documents, SFM-1-14 is available online in the Publication Store of the AAMA website.


Dean Lewis is the educational and technical information manager for the American Architectural Manufacturers Association in Schaumburg, Ill.

Architects' Guide to Glass & Metal
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