When manufacturing or installing doors and ironmongery in commercial and public buildings, there is a legal obligation to ensure that certain criteria are met. Any building in which someone is employed to work is considered a public building. This must be considered when planning ironmongery and door fittings; if you're buying ironmongery for a workplace, you're subject to regulations.

This means you must comply with the UK Construction Products Regulations and the Building Regulations. You must also ensure that the necessary requirements of the Equality Act 2010 are met. In order to remain compliant with legislation, the correct specification of hardware is vital.

Overview of Regulations

The Building Regulations

Building regulations are enforced under the Building Act 1984 and affect England and Wales. Scotland, Northern Ireland, and The Republic of Ireland have their own regulations. These regulations ensure the good health of the public and safety in and around buildings. They provide guidelines for access to and use of buildings.

The key approved documents and standards are:

  • BS 8300 - A British Standard giving advice and guidance on what is the correct door furniture that can be used in public buildings.
  • Approved Document M - The official Building Regulations document explaining how doors can comply in providing accessibility for disabled people.

You can download the 2016 amended Approved Document M “Access to as use of buildings” here

The Construction Products Regulations

The Construction Products Regulations is the primary legislation for the supply of construction and ironmongery products in the UK. Any building materials supplied for sale in the European Union must comply with the Construction Products Directive. Ironmongery used for doors in public buildings will need to meet these requirements for safety and in the case of a fire.

Equality Act 2010

The Equality Act 2010 (EA) brings together and replaces existing equalities legislation including the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA). The EA imposes a duty to make reasonable adjustments to any accessibility features on public buildings which might put a disabled person at a considerable disadvantage compared to a non-disabled person.

Key Areas for Consideration

Below are several key areas for consideration when specifying door hardware, based on information from the regulations mentioned above.

Fire Doors & Escape Doors

Fire Doors:

Fire doors in public buildings must adhere to the Equality Act 2010 and part M of the Building Regulations. These state that public building must provide ease of access and general ease of use around public and commercial buildings. This means that any physical barriers that could prevent a disabled person from using doors or accessing any part of the building must be removed. Make sure you check your fire door rating as this will affect the ironmongery you will need to fit.

  • All dedicated fire doors should be fitted with fire door closers strong enough to overcome the resistance of any lock or latch (BS EN 1154)
  • Controlled door closing devices should conform to requirements set out in BS 83000 and are not suitable for fire-resisting doors if the power size is below 3 (BS EN 1154)
  • The use of automatic door closing devices (activated by smoke detectors or fire alarm) combined with an electromagnetic hold-open/release function is recommended, especially for doors with a strong opening force (BS EN 1155)
  • Delayed action or swing free closing devices may be used on doors to individual rooms but are not considered suitable for doors on circulation routes
  • All fire doors must have one of the standard blue fire door signs as a legal instruction
  • It is recommended that brush type smoke seals are fitted to all fire doors
  • There needs to be documented evidence for every item of ironmongery on a fire door to show it has passed a fire test, e.g. fire test report, assessment or relevant product authentication
  • All doors on main traffic and circulation routes should have vision panels for general safety and disabled access, and should open in the direction of escape where possible

Fire Exit Doors:

Fire exit doors provide exit out of a building in an emergency. Note: A “Fire Exit Door” is not the same as a “Fire Door” which is designed to close off a section of a building, and hold back fire and smoke for a designated period.

  • Fire exit doors in public buildings must be operated without a key so must have an emergency opening device e.g. a panic bar or panic pad. In the event of an emergency they need to be opened instantly and easily without any prior knowledge of how the door operates in the situation of a fire. A highly visible and simple instruction sign such as “push bar to exit” is required and the door should open in the direction of the escape.
  • Fire exit doors must be robust and secure and you should make sure your emergency exit hardware is high quality and is rated to BS EN1125 (horizontal bar) or BS EN179 (lever handle/push pad)

Ironmongery & Door Hardware

The regulations demand that any work is carried out with quality hardware products which are tested to the relevant BS EN standard. The best and easiest way to ensure you comply with these regulations is to only use products bearing the CE mark under the Construction Products Directive, also endorsed by the Building Regulations Part M. This ensures that products are tested to the relevant performance standards (BS EN 12209) including a fire resistant test (BS EN 1634-1). You will find the CE mark on all approved hinges, door closers, panic exit devices, etc. If not CE marked, any other products used should at least be tested by British Standards.

As a general rule for all door handles, locks, latches and catches, they should be both easy to grip and operate, and fitted 850mm-1050mm above floor level.

Door opening furniture:

  • Door opening furniture should be a minimum diameter of 19mm and be operable by one hand using a closed fist e.g. a lever handle
  • Door opening furniture should contrast visually with the surface of the door and should not be cold to touch
  • Manual controls for powered entrance doors should be clearly distinguishable and positioned so as to be accessible to wheelchair users

Locks & Latches:

  • All lock cases should have either 72mm centres or the cylinder should be fitted above the lever handle to improve physical and visual access
  • Locking devices fitted with thumb turns should always be used on the inside leaf in the direction of escape
  • Latches should perform better than the lowest resistance class of BS EN 12209 (15N)

Pull handles:

  • To aid the users of wheelchairs pull handles should be fitted horizontally on the doors, which do not have self-closing devices.
  • A pull handle should be fitted with a cover rose or trim to provide people with impaired vision easier recognition and provide greater support.


  • Hinges should perform better than the lowest friction requirement of 4N under BS EN 1935
  • Rising butt hinges which close doors are considered dangerous by the regulations and must not under any circumstances be used on fire doors in public buildings

Door closers:

  • Door closers should have a maximum opening force of 30N when measured at 0° (closed) and 22.5N when measured between 30° and 60° (open)
  • For internal doors which are not fire doors, self-closing devices should be minimised as they disadvantage people who have limited upper body strength


  • All entry routes, facilities and information should be clearly defined and indicated by appropriate signage (part 3 DDA)


If you want to access the full legislation documentation you can view/download them here:

The Building Regulations 2010:

Equality Act 2010:

The Construction Products Regulations 2013:

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