When constructing any public building, architects and contractors must adhere to strict regulations to ensure public safety as well as a sturdy and secure structure. These regulations fall under the Building Act 1984 and apply to the whole of England and Wales, the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland have their own separate sets of regulations.
That being said, each specific set of public building ironmongery requirements are much the same, and largely based on commonsense and good practice. To help you be aware of these important regulations, More4Doors have included relevant information from the more recent of these building regulations.
Read on below to discover which regulations to conform to when installing ironmongery in your workplace or other public buildings.
Ironmongery for Fire Doors
Given the nature of their use, it perhaps goes without saying that fire doors and escapes must adhere to strict regulations to ensure that, when called into action, they can be used both safely and efficiently.
The Equality Act of 2010 and section M of the Building Regulations Act outline how public buildings must offer easy access and ease of use, covering everything from able-body to disabled access in any area of a building.
Public access building work using ironmongery must be carried out using the proper materials which are deemed appropriate for their purpose. These materials must be prepared and fixed into place by a professional.
It’s also worth noting that each piece of ironmongery installed on a fire door or fire escape must have the correct documentation to signal that it has passed the necessary fire tests, this is usually in the form of a fire test report, a fire assessment or product authentication.
- Must be fitted with closers strong enough to deal with resistance from any lock or latch (BS EN 1154)
- Door closing devices must conform to the requirements outlined in BS 83000 and are deemed not suitable for fire-resisting doors if the power size is below 3 (BS EN 1154)
- Using automatic door closing devices which are activated by smoke detectors or fire alarms along with an electromagnetic hold-open/release function is recommended, particularly for doors with a strong opening force (BS EN 1155)
- Delayed action and swing-free closing devices are allowed on doors to individual rooms but are not suitable for doors on main circulation routes
- By law, all fire doors must display the standard blue fire door sign
- Brush-type smoke seals are recommended for all fire doors
Doors on main traffic routes and circulation routes should have vision panels for general safety and disabled access
It’s worth being aware that a ‘fire door’ is not the same as a ‘fire exit’, the latter is specifically designed to shut off a section of a building in the event of a fire, holding back the blaze and smoke for a significant period of time.
With this in mind, fire exit regulations regarding hardware differ slightly:
- Fire exit doors must be able to be operated without a key, and so must include the likes of a panic bar or panic pad to open, signposted with a clear message such as “push bar to exit”. This ensures that, in the event of an emergency, the door is able to be operated simply and efficiently without any prior knowledge or instruction on how to operate the door.
- High-quality hardware is required to ensure that the fire exit is both sturdy and secure, the hardware for a horizontal bar must be rated to BS EN1125, while a push pad mechanism must be rated to BS EN179.
Ironmongery for Door Hardware
As is the case with ironmongery for fire doors, any door hardware concerning door closing devices and door opening furniture must also comply with regulations and meet the relevant BS EN standards.
It’s worth looking out for products which bear the CE mark under the Construction Products Directive on their packaging, this indicates that the goods have been tested to the BS EN 12209 performance standards and have also passed a BS EN 1634-1 fire resistance test.
To give you an idea of these regulations, we’ve included some ironmongery requirements for specific door hardware below:
- Self-closing devices for internal doors (excluding fire doors) should be used minimally as they may pose a problem for those with limited upper body strength.
- Door closing devices should have a maximum opening force of 30N when closed and 22.5N when opening between the angles of 30° and 60°.
Door Opening Furniture
- Should be operable by using one hand and a minimum diameter of 19mm.
- The door furniture should contrast visually versus the surface of the door
- Door opening furniture should not be cold to the touch
- For powered entrance doors, manual controls are required to be easily distinguishable and within reach of wheelchair users.
Locks & Latches
- Locks and latches should perform to a higher degree than the lowest resistance class, BS EN 12209 (15N)
- Lock cases should have 72mm centres or cylinders should be fitted above the door handle to improve both physical and visual access
- Locks fitted with thumb turn devices should always be installed on the inside leaf towards the direction of escape
- Hinges and fire door hinges should perform to a higher degree than the lowest friction requirement of 4N under BS EN 1935
- Rising butt hinges are classed as dangerous by regulations when concerning fire doors in public buildings and must not be used
- Concerning doors which do not have self-closing devices, pull handles should be fitted horizontally on doors to aid wheelchair users
- Pull handles should include a cover rose or trim to aid with visual recognition and improved support for the visually impaired
- Appropriate signage should be used to indicate all entry points, routes, facilities and information as per part 3 of the DDA.
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