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Continuing Professional Development Door systems and accessibility

either be above the lever handle or there should be a minimum of 72mm between the handle and the keyway. The shape of handles is an important

consideration for people with manual dexterity problems. The grip zone of any lever handle should be at least 95mm and 45mm clear of the face of the door. The lever should have a diameter of at

least 19mm and locks should be inset at least 54mm from the edge of the door. If the handles are to be fi tted to narrow stile doors, the effective gripping distance of the handle should start 63.5mm from the door edge. A high visual contrast between handle and door is essential for visually impaired users. These are important considerations for wheelchair users, and the minimum requirements, as stated in BS 8300: 2009 + A1:2010 differ depending on the direction and width of the approach, and whether the door is for a new building or is retrofi tted. For example, the minimum clear width of an external door for use by the public is 775mm for an existing building, but 1,000mm for a new one.

Fire safety More than 50% of all deaths resulting from fi re are caused by smoke and gas inhalation. If fi re doors are wedged open they allow smoke and fi re to spread throughout the building. However, if fi re doors are properly closed they contain the fl ow of smoke and fi re in the area where it started, enabling people to exit safely and limiting the damage. Most fi re doors are designed to be kept closed at all times, but permanently closed fi re doors can present an obstacle to building occupants, particularly for people with disabilities. There are a range of products that can be used in conjunction with a closing device to allow free access in normal circumstances and automatic closure in the event of a fi re emergency. Hold-open closers, as they are known, enable the door to be held open at any angle between 75˚ and 180˚ by means of an electromagnetic control. These can be mounted in surface-fi tted door closers, fl oor springs or transom closers. Magnets that are surface or fl ush-mounted on the wall can also be used with door closing devices. In the event of an alarm or a fault

in the power supply, the electromagnetic hold-open is released and the door is shut by the door closer. In addition to electromagnetic hold- open closers, free-swing door closers can be used where doors are required to be closed or left ajar. These units allow manual operation of the door without the user experiencing any resistance from the door closer. The door can be left in any position, as if no door closer were fi tted, but will close on alarm or power failure. Any electromagnetic device must be CE marked to BS EN 1155.

A clear route to compliance In many situations, automatic door systems provide an ideal solution to the barriers otherwise presented by internal and external doors. Advances in technology and continuing innovation by manufacturers have led to the development of a wide range of systems to suit every scenario. Owing to the complex technical

characteristics and broad range of systems available, the selection of automatic door systems is a specialist area. For anyone considering the procurement and installation of an automatic door system, it is crucial to seek the advice of door control manufacturers and their approved suppliers. In many situations, the advice of the fi re and building control authorities may also be an important factor. Specifying an automatic door system

for a particular building will depend on how the door is likely to be used. Relevant criteria include the volume and types of pedestrian traffi c, environmental conditions such as wind exposure, whether use is continuous or intermittent and whether the door is designated as an emergency exit route. Initiatives such as the Equality Act

drive manufacturers to improve their products to make them specifi able. However, for manufacturers such as Dorma, aiming for the basic standards as required by BS 8300: 2009 + A1:2010 and Approved Document M should be the absolute minimum. CM

Graham Hulland is product marketing manager with Dorma. For more information, please visit

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CPD test paper Automatic door systems

and accessiblity 1 Under the Equality Act 2010, which of the following is NOT a standard with which buildings and products must be compliant? ● The Equality Act itself ● British Standards ● European Standards ● Building Regulations

2 What is the key Building Regulation in England and Wales relating to access to and use of buildings? ● Part F ● Part G

● Part L ● Part M

3 Which British Standard explains how the built environ- ment can be designed to overcome restrictions that prevent people with disabilities from making full use of premises? ● BS 4312 ● BS 9870

● BS1200 ● BS 8300

4 According to Building Regs and British Standards, what should be the upper limit of the force required to open a door between 0˚ and 30˚? ● 20N

● 22.5N

● 27.5N ● 30N

5 What is the minimum effective clear width for external doors used by the general public in existing buildings? ● 775mm ● 800mm ● 825mm ● 1,000mm


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