Selecting the correct door closer for aluminium commercial doors

Photo of author

Nick Dardalis

Updated on

The aluminium commercial door is the number one choice for use in just about every type of commercial building.  In commercial environments there are regulatory requirements in addition to aesthetic considerations; in particular doors may be required to open and close in a particular manner.  In this article we’re going to explain why it is so important to select the correct door closer for aluminium doors.

Commercial aluminium doors are designed for high use buildings such as schools, shops, office blocks and hospitals.  Only an aluminium door can perform and last in such demanding conditions.

building owners and designers have a legal obligation to ensure entrance doors meet the needs of current legislation.
Building Owners and designers have a legal obligation to ensure entrance doors meet the needs of current legislation.

Commercial doors are required to meet certain design specifications in order to carry out these demanding functions.  Aside from reliability there are certain functions that the door must carry out.  For example the door mechanism must be able to control the door opening and closing speeds, and control when or how the door opens.  One of the critical components in this function is the door closer.

In the vast majority of commercial doors, this door closer will be a transom closer.  This is a door closer hidden in the frame head of the door and connected to the top rail with a suitable top arm and fixings.

So which is the correct door closer for aluminium doors.

If you are ordering commercial doors from a trade manufacturer or specifying commercial doors for a construction project there are two main pieces of legislation that need to be considered.  The first is the Equality Act.  The second is ensuring that if the intended door is a fire door or fire exit door that the relevant Fire Regulations are met.

The door closer plays an important part in ensuring the door that will be installed will meet these regulations.  It is useful therefore to give an overview of the Equality Act, Fire  Regulations and some initial background.

Equality Act 2010

The Equality Act 2010 now combines over 100 pieces of legislation.  This new Act is there to ensure that equal opportunity exists in many walks of life from sexual discrimination, disability discrimination, race relations, equal pay and so forth.

In the case of commercial doors it is disability discrimination that needs to be avoided.  Therefore, the Act clearly states that “service providers” and anyone responsible for overall building design and use must provide ease of access and general ease of use around a building. In short any “physical barriers” must be removed that may prevent a disabled person from using or accessing a service provided by the building and its occupier.  You can download the amended Part M “access to and use of buildings” regs here.

Fire Regulations

With regard to fire safety on commercial doors, those installed in a designated fire exit will be the “final exit” on an escape route out of a building.  Fire exit doors must open instantly, very easily and wherever possible in the direction of the escape.  In most cases this will be open out.

Therefore sliding, revolving or bifolding doors are completely unsuitable as fire escape doors.  More importantly, fire exit doors must be operated without a key and without any prior knowledge of how the door operates in a fire situation.

At the same time Fire Exit doors whilst intended to provide unhindered exit out of a building are also required to be secure!

What is the difference between a Fire Exit Door and a Fire Door?

fire exit doors provide the final escape route out of a building.  they must be easy to operate and require no prior knowledge of how they open.
Fire exit doors provide the final escape route out of a building. They must be easy to operate and require no prior knowledge of how they open.

The construction industry may loosely use the term “Fire Door” when in fact they mean a Fire Exit Door.  In simple terms a Fire Door is a door that is designed to close off a section of a building the event of a fire and provide a level of protection for a specific length of time, usually 30 minutes.  Typically these doors will be internal.

The Fire Exit door is as explained above providing exit out of a building in an emergency.

How Door Closers are affected by Legislation

The correct door closer in a commercial door to meet the Equality Act must meet specific opening and closing forces. These are detailed in our Building Regulations, typically BS 8300:2009 and Approved Document M for England and Wales.  In Northern Ireland it is Part R and Section 3 for Scotland.

These Regulations state that a door closer must:

Produce an opening force of below 30N between 0º and 30º degrees and below 22.5N between 30º and 60º degrees

On a typical door a high quality door closer such as those supplied by Door Controls, this will be a strength 3 and meets all the current standards.

Not all door closers are able to meet current standards and legislation

High quality door closers such as whilst costing more than a cheaper alternative carry third party accreditation that they meet the required standards. Importantly they also have the ability be adjusted to low opening forces.

What you may not know is that weather seals, hinges, architectural ironmongery, glass weight and door size all play a part in the opening force of the door.  Therefore, whilst you may think your closer will meet the required opening force, only on site testing can prove its compliance to BS8300 and Approved Document M.

It is the complete door set that must be compliant with the opening force not just the closer. 

The door closer market for commercial doors is very competitive with many door closers being poor copy imitations of higher quality ones.  Whilst many are manufactured in China, the quality of the closers varies a lot.

It is important to look out for closers that will not leak if the adjustment screws are loosened too much.  Furthermore the quality of the metals used in the top arms and the associated fixings must be of a good quality to ensure the long term performance of the product.

If you are a manufacturer of commercial doors, obtaining a cheap door closer may prove false economy if you are having to replace them for faults and carrying out service calls.

BS EN 1154 is the standard relating to Controlled Door Closing Devices.

This important standard relates to Fire Exit Doors.  It states the minimum performance requirements for door closers that are fitted to final exit doors such as aluminium commercial doors used in fire exits.  Again high quality closers tested to over a million cycles such as the RTS 87 to size EN3 will comply.  Does your current door closer?

The meeting of current standards and legislation is complex for installers and specifiers of commercial aluminium doors and not all door closers will comply.  If you would like further information and assistance on the correct products to use, please contact us.

Providing expert help to homeowners and trade professionals since 2010




Get Free help finding the right products from the best suppliers

16:42 30 Oct 23
Nick responded incredibly quickly to my enquiry (on a Saturday too!), and was able to offer invaluable advice on both aluminum systems and manufacturer / suppliers. Thanks Nick!
chris steerchris steer
16:18 09 Oct 23
Had a meeting with Nick during the grand designs show. Was extremely helpful and professional would highly recommend
Chris WesthorpChris Westhorp
19:55 13 Sep 23
Extremely helpful with pointing us in the right direction to find the products we required and suggesting firms that could reliably fit them.Nick was quick to reply and very detailed in his advice.Highly recommend reaching out to them.
Cathy GreenwoodCathy Greenwood
07:03 11 Sep 23
Update - A second email to nick for help on bifolds resulted in a detailed informative reply even on a Sunday ! This guy is so knowledgable and helpful .I approached Nick for an independent view on sliding doors v bifold and the different brand options . His reply was extremely detailed and prompt and allowed me to navigate this often confusing world in a much more informed way . Thanks so much Nick
Anthony CraigAnthony Craig
12:45 05 Sep 23
This is a must site for anyone looking for advice. Great service and very quick answers to questions. Nick has been of great help quiding us through the maze of aluminium products. Thank you
Philip DuffieldPhilip Duffield
20:24 26 Jul 23
I contacted Nick @ ATS for guidance on what aluminium sliding door systems would be suitable for an opening in an extension that is going to be both wide and tall. He came back really quickly with very detailed and incredibly helpful advice. He is clearly extremely knowledgeable about the systems on the market and their respective features and capabilities. If you’re feeling a bit lost by the overwhelming range of choices out there, I’d definitely recommend contacting him.
Dariush HekmatDariush Hekmat
17:25 19 Jul 23
Nick's advice is great. He is always quick to respond and spends time on responses, which really help to make an informed decision.
Alan FosterAlan Foster
07:51 12 Jul 23
Absolutely fantastic. Asked for advice about replacing Crittall (?) windows late last night and early this morning received 3 great suggestions and contact information for suppliers
Rachel LauRachel Lau
09:24 16 Jun 23
Fantastic website full of valuable and pragmatic advice about product selection and comparison: no other website gives information like this. Truly written for public interest. Don't hesistate to reach out to Nick via the mailing system. He responds very quickly, is friendly, and has very sound and high knowledgable advice. I have already shared this with my friend planning her own grand design.
guard Charlieguard Charlie
12:28 14 May 23
I emailed this company just on the off chance they could help me with new magnetic sliders for my patio door. They were not able to supply those but were so very helpful providing me with the name of a company who could. I am so very grateful at the great service. Dare say customers must be very happy. thank you so much.
Benjamin LewisBenjamin Lewis
10:06 04 May 23
Nick is very helpful indeed. Extremely knowledgeable on bifolds which was in relation to my query. Great website as well, some very useful articles. Particularly appreciated the article that lists all the major bifold options in order of their sightlines! Thank you!
P JonesP Jones
08:07 15 Apr 23
I asked Nick some questions about an installation we were considering and he replied within hours with some very useful suggestions that will probably lead us to using a different make and supplier. Thanks, Nick. Great work.
Nicholas WallNicholas Wall
13:18 02 Apr 23
Looking for fair and honest expert advice on all aspect of aluminium windows and doors? These guys will arm you with all the information you need to make the RIGHT choice in a highly complex, crowded marketplace. post a question and you will get a very quick professional answer you can rely on being based on fact. Thanks guys!
Giorgia SiriacoGiorgia Siriaco
16:25 21 Mar 23
After a lot of research to find doors that would meet our unusual size requirements and feeling increasingly uncertain about the best way to spend our small budget, I stumbled on the ATS website, and I'm so glad I did! I contacted ATS to request advice and Nick promptly replied with a wealth of information, providing us with options and relevant contact details. I only wish I'd found them sooner!
Carol NortonCarol Norton
10:01 17 Mar 23
I've been so confused about how to achieve the look I'm after, and going round in circles with various window/door companies, trying to get away from the huge chunks of plastic currently around my windows. I didn't expect an email to a company found through a Google search to really help - but I was desperate, so I tried. I'm SO glad I did. Finally I have clear explanations from ATS of where I've been going wrong, exactly what I'm looking for, and a list of local companies that might be able to provide it! The response has excelled my expectations and I feel as if I'm finally inching closer to a home with which I'll be happy and comfortable: thank you.
David NunnDavid Nunn
20:54 14 Mar 23
It is rare that I write reviews, however after my very positive communication with Nick - enquiring about suitable slim sash aluminium windows for my project, I felt that a review was definitely warranted. I can reinforce the many positive reviews posted so far, Nick was very quick to respond, providing comprehensive detail, with excellent independent advice.In summary, great service, thank you Nick.
Chantal AuerbachChantal Auerbach
13:04 09 Mar 23
Nick from Aluminium Trade Supply was incredibly helpful informative and pleasant to deal with. He responded quickly to emails and was very knowledgeable. Highly recommend being in touch with Nick if you are considering new aluminium windows or doors.
Lee JonesLee Jones
20:21 22 Feb 23
I dropped Nick at Aluminium Trade Supply an email re high security slim sightline bi-folds and their alternatives and he responded that quickly (and so comprehensively) that I felt bad I’d not paid him for his time!Nick Sir your product knowledge is outstanding and you are providing a level of service that goes wayyyy above and beyond expectations. I’ll definitely make sure I mention Aluminium Trade Supply to anyone I encounter looking for a fenestration solution 🙏🏼
15:13 13 Feb 23
We are looking to replace some old UPVC patios doors with aluminium ones. The ATS website is a great source of advice in an area where clear information is sorely lacking. Having used the website, I then followed this up with a number of specific questions relating to our search, and Nick came back very quickly with clear, detailed and very useful advice.I have been very impressed with both the website and with Nick's advice. My only regret is that I didn't come across ATS before replacing various windows in 2021 - I'm sure it would have saved me a lot of grief and money! Thanks again Nick.
Azza McCabeAzza McCabe
17:47 01 Feb 23
So impressed with this company.Responded to my query quickly andgave valuable advice. Nick was extremely helpful and we were able to move forward with our project.
Adri LoloçiAdri Loloçi
11:21 08 Jan 23
Nick was super fast to respond and provided some great recommendations. I would recommend this website to anyone looking to find bifold or sliding aluminium doors.
Stephen HoustonStephen Houston
16:16 03 Jan 23
Looking for aluminium crittall style internal door and external patio French doors. Noted good reviews and thought would ask for advice. Comprehensive reply with excellent independent advice and lists of fitters who could provide products and installation. Great service.
Inga GeachInga Geach
08:25 21 Dec 22
Nick from Aluminium Trade Supply has been extremely helpful with navigating the jungle that is aluminium glazing for our upcoming extension project. His advice was prompt, detailed and always impartial. Very grateful for your input, thanks Nick!
Amanda BurtonAmanda Burton
10:54 16 Dec 22
Brilliant website and an excellent service. Nick provided not only detailed advice and supplier contacts, but highlighted the considerations of various products so I could make an informed choice. Our Sunvista minimal sliders were fitted this week and I couldn't be happier, stunning. Thanks once again for your advice and recommendations, invaluable!
Keith BarnesKeith Barnes
17:18 10 Dec 22
Very helpful advice given to my question, including the name of 3 different companies that i could try for the product being enquired about. Many thanks
Munim ChowdhuryMunim Chowdhury
11:45 13 Sep 22
Nick has been very helpful on signposting me to a number of partner organisations for steel/aluminium doors.
SUSAN wallaceSUSAN wallace
17:26 31 Aug 22
My experience with this firm was exceptionally good and this is notalways the case as a female, dipping a toe into technical waters.I was spoken too with courtesy and at a level that helped me consolidate what was needed .On top of that I was given a list of companies and places where I could obtain the type of product I needed.I could not thank them enough and would certainly go there again and reccommend others do too.
Paul SalterPaul Salter
22:39 22 Aug 22
Contacting Aluminium Trade Supply is like contacting the Oracle direct. Advice is always comprehensive and balanced. On multiple occasions they have provided me with options that fully meet our objectives. Many thanks.
Nick McCormackNick McCormack
20:25 14 Aug 22
Really helpful and useful came back to me on a Sunday with some invaluable information. Highly recommended.
ray addisonray addison
13:14 14 Aug 22
received a prompt reply to my query,and helpful information from ATS