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Disabilities Discrimination Act 2004

Approved Document M (AD M)
Door Opening Hardware Guidance on the specification for door hardware falls into 2 main categories:
– ability to grip and operate the hardware
– ability to visually locate the hardware

Ability to grip and operate the hardware
The requirement within AD M is that “where fitted with a latch, the door opening furniture can be operated with one hand using a closed fist, e.g. a lever handle” (AD M 2.17). Whilst no specific dimensional requirements are laid down in AD M, such recommendations are covered in BS 8300.
It is a requirement of AD M that external handles (ie those used to open manual external doors), should not be ‘cold to the touch’. Whilst most people will find a bare metal handle unpleasant to grip in the depths of winter, for some, particularly elderly people, it can be quite painful.

Building Regulations in Scotland & Northern Ireland
Technical Handbooks are published to guide specifiers in Scotland and Northern Ireland in much the same way as AD M but are not as detailed, offering little or no guidance in the specification of door hardware although the amended Technical Booklet (Part R) published in Northern Ireland does contain specific information related to handrailing and sanitary fittings. In most cases the Handbooks for Scotland refer specifiers to the guidance contained in BS 8300.

BS 8300:2009
Door Opening Hardware
BS 8300 is more detailed in its recommendations, prescribing dimensional parameters for locks & latches, lever and pull handle furniture.

Locks & latches
To improve physical and visual access to the lever and lock keyway, the distance from the edge of the door and between the lever and keyway should be maximised; “the cylinder should either be above the lever handle, or the minimum distance between the handle and the keyway .. should be 72mm.” (BS 8300 – 6.5.4)
It also requires a backset of 54mm minimum (from edge of door to the lockcase operating centre – see diagram opposite).

Lever handles
The principal requirements are that “where possible, door opening furniture with a lever action should be used without tightly grasping it or twisting the wrist e.g by using a closed fist”. It also recommends levers return to the door face at the open end to aid the grip and avoid catching clothing. Dimensional characteristics for lever handles are covered by Fig. 17 of BS 8300. See diagram opposite.
Whilst lever handles are the preferred solution, there are circumstances where other issues can take precedence. The requirement to prevent self harm is one such issue where the risk associated with the lever furniture takes precedence over disabled access. Such situations will be covered by the provision of an Access Statement at the planning stage.

Pull handles
Recommendations are included concerning the positioning and size of pull handles:
• Minimum diameter 19mm
• Projection from door face 45mm
Recommendations also include the provision of a horizontal pull handle on doors fitted with a latch to enable wheelchair users to pull the door closed. See diagram opposite.

Grab rails
Part M3 of Approved Document M of The Building Regulations covers the provision of sanitary facilities. Whilst not specifically part of the Orbis Commercial range, we have a full range of grab rails and disabled fittings.

 

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