I have set many knock-down steel jamb doors. This is the type where the two legs and the header are separate parts. I'm facing setting steel slab-jambs. This is the type of jamb where the legs and header are all one piece. They are fastened by 3 lag bolts in each leg. I've usually seen these set prior to building the partitions around them. They are usually tack welded to the steel structure temporarily.
Several of the exterior doors for my project are slab-jambs. The exterior walls are approximately 12" masonry with a PT 2x8 shot in around the RO. The inside dimension of the RO is approximately 1/4-1/2" larger than the outside dimension of my slab-jambs. This leaves no framing inside the pocket of the jamb leg?!
I can see that snugging the top 2 lags will lock the jamb in place as the lags pull against each other. That works... Snugging the other 4 lags will keep the bottom of the jamb legs from closing up. That works... But there is nothing tight behind the jamb to keep the jamb legs from spreading, especially under the weight of the open door?
I know I've seen door jambs flopping around in doctor's offices, but I can't see leaving a door this poorly set. I was thinking about recreating the clips that you get with knock-down jambs. The clips slide behind the jamb leg and allow you to fasten the legs to the jacks. I thought typical framing hurricane straps might work great. Any other ideas?
(Cabinet and Millwork Installation Forum)
From Gary Katz, forum technical advisor:
What's the thickness of the jamb - finished dimension from face of jamb to face of jamb? What's the interior and exterior finish on the masonry? Other than that, the only issues I see are hardware related. Is that jamb prepped for surface mounting... Is it drilled and dimpled or countersunk on the stop?
Sometimes you have to think creatively. Look at the drawings, consider the intent of the design, then regardless of what was supplied, draw from your experience and find a way to fasten the sucker. Small commercial jobs often don't get the detailed thinking regarding fastening frames that big jobs do. Half the time the suppliers send the wrong fasteners or the wrong frame types and you're stuck drilling the holes in the frames or welding the frames to steel bucks.
Last year, I finished a very complex trim job for a guy who happened to be a major general contractor who moved from New Jersey to Texas. He was pleased with my work and asked me if I had done any commercial work. I replied, "No." He told that if I wanted to give it a try I should submit a bid for installing commercial doors and hardware.
The door install and hardware are for a new hospital being built here in Texas. I believe this is out of my comfort zone. I have never installed commercial doors. I have no idea how to price for door and hardware installation labor. Nevertheless, I cannot let this potential opportunity go without at least getting some info from the commercial door installer pros out there. Right now, work is very scarce here in Texas. Can someone help me with pricing and installation tips? How different is it to install commercial doors from residential doors, besides the obvious (weight difference)? Do I need special tools? Manpower should not be a problem. Should I just let it go, or should I give it a try?
Go for it. You can't learn unless you do it. Bid the job by estimating how many doors you can install in one hour or one day and applying your day rate to that amount. That's how we started our business almost thirty years ago. We still use the same work-around whenever we get into a pinch with something we're not familiar with.
Let me know what type of door and jamb the job is using, though it really doesn't matter that much. A Timely metal jamb (light steel) or Western Integrated jamb (aluminum) take about the same amount of time. There are some good tricks. We use a hollow core 3/0 door with holes cut in it top and bottom to make it lighter, and a level screwed to the middle so we can stick it in the jamb, plumb the legs, and screw off the head and legs without the doors even on the job. About 20 minutes at the most per opening. Most of our jobs, the doors come pre-finished and we install them later.
If the doors come unfinished, we stand them on edge with the mortises sticking up and mount all the hinges at once, while foot-soldiers haul the doors off to openings using drywall carts or door dollies (get a door dolly!).
Hanging the doors alone is easy - one man can tip the door up to the hinge mortise and screw off the top hinge, then push the door plumb with a foot and get the other hinges.
I think if you figure 15 doors/day for two guys you'll be fine. But you could easily install a lot more. I've had many 30 door days with a helper. That doesn't include the hardware. We install the doors first, then go back with a hardware cart and do the locks and closers, etc. If the contractor is friendly, maybe you could do it time and material?
You will also have to coordinate with the guys who install electronic operators and the alarm guys/electricians and receive and distribute hardware for them.
Usually managing the hardware room on a hospital job is a full time job for one guy, and not many guys are good at it. The hardware supplier can either make your job easy or hell on earth. Single pieces of hardware can cost thousands of dollars, so you have to stay on top of things and track exactly what goes in and out of the job (i.e. carefully checking through each shipment as you receive it and not letting guys pull their own hardware).
I once got blamed for losing a package of 4 x $450 SS continuous hinges. The GC's laborer received and signed for the package and said he left it in my hardware room. All the paperwork pointed to the package being on site. I was at the hardware supplier's loading dock picking up stuff for another job when I found the package in a corner on the dock. They had reordered the hinges and I was going to be back charged. That's just one incident. You are going to get to know the project coordinator and hardware consultant on the job very well.
All I am saying is be aware of what you are getting into. Unlike residential, even butt hinges aren't interchangeable even if they're the same size. With all the electrified hardware in hospitals these days, you have to look out for more than lightweight/heavyweight/NRP. A lot of hinges are current transfers now.
If you feel up to the job or have someone who will manage the job for you, give it a try but be careful what you get yourself into. A hospital door installation is a very difficult start to commercial door hardware.
Another thing to consider is that unlike other occupancies, the door installation is interlocked with the smoke detection/fire alarms and the key component in fire separations and to getting an occupancy certificate. Modern hospitals have negative air pressure in the rooms and positive air pressure in the corridors, which can be a real pain getting closers adjusted for and doors to latch. It's definitely not the best place to start installing commercial doors.
Your plans and the door/hardware schedule are the code for deciphering the job, but the door/hardware supplier should be working with you.
I've found that commercial work, especially a large job, is a good place to learn because there is so much repetitive work. Once you figure out how to install the smoke hold-opens, or the panic hardware, there's going to be another dozen pairs of the same thing and you'll pick up the pace and the profit as you move along.
I usually get our crew organized and busy doing relatively simple but hugely repetitive work, then tackle something out of the ordinary and difficult with another experienced carpenter.