If you manufacture, supply or install commercial aluminium doors the meeting of required standards is very important to you as a door company and to your customers. You will most likely have heard of the Disability Discrimination Act but may not be aware of how legislation about this Act has changed over recent years or why meeting current standards is so important.
Simple changes to how you order or supply your doors could make you compliant and crucially if you supply fabricated commercial doors to the trade. 10 years on from the introduction of the Disability Discrimination Act in 1995, have you perhaps forgotten why this Act was introduced? It is quite likely if you were supplying commercial doors in 1995 the DDA was at the forefront of your door installations.
Chronology of the Equality Act
1995 – The Disability Discrimination Act was passed.
1996 – It became unlawful to discriminate against any disabled employees and also became unlawful for service providers to treat disabled people less favourably
1999 – Service providers must alter premises or provide alternative means of providing the service
2002 – Special Education Needs & Disability Act Bill passed
2004 – Service providers must make reasonable adjustments to physical features of their premises
2005 – DDA amended and updated
2005 – Education providers must make reasonable adjustments to physical features of their premises
2006 – Private Clubs must make reasonable adjustments to physical features of their premises
2010 – DDA was incorporated within and superseded by the Equality Act
Where are commercial doors currently installed?
If you install commercial doors in any of the following commercial sectors, you need to be compliant as a door installer as the current Equality Act is relevant and applies to these segments of commercial construction.
- Education and Healthcare
- Commercial Buildings
- Financial Institutions
- Retails shops and buildings
Therefore it is very likely wherever you currently install commercial aluminium doors, they need to be compliant. In new buildings it is now part of their design that they meet the needs of the Equality Act but did you know that whilst the responsibility falls on the Service Provider (anyone who provides a service to the public or section of the public), you as a door installer should be complying with specifications drawn up but also providing the right information if you are replacing commercial doors to existing buildings or providing new doors to replace old ones.
What does Equality Act Compliant Mean?
It is worth knowing that The Equality Act 2010 relates to access to services and not access to buildings. This Act is civil legislation. Individual products and also buildings cannot be “Equality Act compliant” but rather the whole product. It is compliance with current Building Regulations and British or European Standards that helps with compliance.
Compliance with current Building Regulations is adhering to current and legal requirements that provide information and guidance to ensure acceptable standards of construction for new buildings and existing buildings.
Compliance with current British or European Standards means you meet the recommendations in the design of new and existing buildings to meet the needs of disabled people.
Why door installers should meet current guidance.
As a door installer, it is quite likely you work with established clients, building contractors, architects and local businesses. Whatever your customer base and wherever commercial doors are installed, compliance with the Equality Act is important because:
The doors you provide to your customers must be suitable for all users. If customers are unable to access a business premises they will not use the premises. There are also legal reasons. Whilst claims are largely settled out of court and outside of the media, this could mean negative PR for a business not being accessible. It could also be argued that there are moral reasons for compliance as in modern life no sector of society should be discriminated against.
Why commercial doors are important to public buildings.
As an experienced supplier or installer of commercial doors you will know that these doors will comprise locks, panic bars, door closers, handles or low thresholds. All the important elements of the commercial doors you currently supply fall under one of more forms of building regulations and standards.
For door closing devices in particular are you aware that:
The force required to open the door should not exceed 30N between 0°-30° and must fall below 22.5N between 30°- 60°.
This is not complicated or expensive to adhere to by simply having the right door closer that offers adjustment of the completed and installed product to meet these forces.
What door closer are you choosing for your commercial doors?
The compliance with the stated opening and closing forces is very important and these forces are again stressed in both BS8300 as well as Approved Document M and BS EN 1154. So what door closer can you use in your commercial doors?
Door closers of high efficiency and with rapid drop off of opening resistance should be specified to ensure compliance.
How you can simply ensure you remain compliant with your doors.
Trade Suppliers. If you currently manufacture commercial doors that you provide unglazed, made to measure and supplied to your installing customers, why not change your standard door closer to one which offers the necessary adjustment once the product is installed and one that provides the required opening and closing forces? This is one effective method of helping your trade customers provide doors with the right hardware.
Door Installers. It is quite likely your present supplier has provided you with order forms to ensure they manufacture your commercial doors correctly and to your and your customers’ specifications. Closers such as the DORMA RTS 87 can help your doors comply and there is no reason why you should not ask for this closer as standard with any future doors assuming the aluminium system you buy can work with it. Contact us if you require more information.
Does the right closer add to the cost of aluminium commercial doors?
Door manufacturers will admit that the cost of the door closer is one of the most expensive elements in pricing an aluminium commercial door. It is also true that high quality door closers will cost more than the budget door closers and the low end closers, many of which are copies of each other and manufactured in China.
Typically the cost of a higher quality door closer will add between £40 and £80 to the cost of your door but the costs of not complying are far greater. Armed with the right information there is no reason why next time you are seeing a customer needing a new commercial door that you don’t explain the responsibilities your customer has as a building owner or service provider in meeting current legislation.
However as an experienced installer of commercial doors you will also know the additional costs involved in making additional visits to site, replacing hardware and associated staffing and administration costs. Perhaps you would be better off providing the right hardware with your doors and remaining safe in the knowledge you are providing legally compliant products.
Should a member of the public complain about not being able to use a door you installed and it is found not to meet The Equality Act, BS8300 or Approved Document M, the comeback will quite likely be on whoever provided the door.
Added Value work when you provide the right door closers for doors.
You will already know that no door is a fit and forget product. Especially on heavy duty and high traffic doors installed in schools as one example these doors must be routinely checked and maintained to ensure they remain tightly fitted to the top arms and generally that they work satisfactorily. But did you know that without regular maintenance of all door fittings, the resistances to opening and closing can increase to an extent that the ability of disabled people to pass through the door may be affected. The opening force at the door opening angles described above should therefore be checked at regular intervals.
Therefore there is a great opportunity to provide valuable after care services to doors you provide and perhaps generate added value income from providing maintenance contracts to the doors you supply. Your customers will want to ensure their doors perform to their best at all times and will see the value of having them checked at regular intervals.
What do you know about commercial doors?
You are already providing doors that comply with BS6262 for the glass. It is known by many residential and commercial door installers that safety glazing is a legal requirements. Additionally you will also be compliant with BS6496 for the polyester powder coating, BS1474 for the quality of the aluminium extrusions and many other standards that apply to your gaskets, silicone, screws and fittings. You will already be doing your utmost to also comply with Health and Safety. So why would you ignore other important legislation?
Take our quick, easy and anonymous Door Installer Survey and test what you know about the doors you currently provide. We are here to help and advise you and provide the right information to you about how to provide doors that are accessible and legal.