Door Hardware for Disabled Access

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Nick Dardalis

It is not just the door closer, the glass or the weight of the door that can affect its ability to make it easy to use and comply with Part M and BS8300.  The other important hardware fitted to the door such as handles, locks and hinges can also play a part.

It is important to remember that it is the complete door set that will need to be compliant not just the closing mechanism.  The weight of the glass, the weather sealing of the door and other components can all add to the weight of the product.  Upon installation, using a device such as the Pesola Gauage will accurately measure the opening and closing forces of your door.

What to consider with door hardware for disabled access?

In the case of a manual door, this will normally have to be opened using either a push or pull handle or some kind of lever handle that would activate the latch.  Here is what you need to know.

Door handles

Consideration should be given to door handles and how they can be used by people that may suffer with manual dexterity.  Handles need to be at least 45mm clear from the face of the door profile or the glass and with a minimum diameter of 19mm.  Most handles designed for commercial doors will be greater than this but it is worth bearing in mind if your customer is choosing handles and opts for a very slim type.

nylon coated handles, warm to the touch, in a contrasting colour such as these will comply with the dda
Nylon Coated handles, warm to the touch, in a contrasting colour such as these will comply with the DDA

Some people also make the mistake particularly on aluminium commercial doors with narrow stiles of choosing straight pull handles that project from the door.  On double doors this can cause a finger trap situation and we recommend you always use handles that are cranked and project out into the glass line.  It is recommended that handles are placed at least 62mm from the edge of the door leaf whether this is a single or double door.

All door handles should be of a contrasting colour to the door to make them easily identifiably to those with a visual impairment.

Lever Handles.

If your door is to be fitted with a lever handle it needs to have at least 95mm as its “grip zone”  – i.e. the area that the hand will clasp around or use to activate it.

The location of the key in relation to the handle is also important and there should be at least 72mm between the handle and the zone where the key would be inserted.

It is also worth remembering to use high quality door hinges as poor quality ones can impact the opening forces of the door.

Door widths

BS83000 states that for wheelchair users minimum door widths must be adhered to.  This will differ depending upon whether the door is going into a new build or into an existing building and the angle of approach to the door.  The guide sizes for clear openings in doors are:

1000mm clear opening for a new build

775mm for an existing building.

Consideration should be given to large handles that may project out a lot more thereby limiting the clear opening.