Door handles and ironmongery in clinical setting



Ironmongery refers to all the components that are used to operate a door including handles, locks and latches. It should be carefully chosen so that it supports easy navigation for all users, regardless of ability.

Door ironmongery plays a key role in the accessibility of your building, determining how easy it is for people to open, close and move through doors. Ironmongery should match throughout the building and be within easy reach for all users. Some additional guidance can be found HBN 00-10 Part B: Walls and Ceilings

Recommended standards:

  • Where doors open with a latch this should open with a lever action.
  • Use lever handles as an alternative to doorknobs as these are easier to use. Doorknobs can be hard to grip and turn.
  • Use ironmongery that allows any door to be opened with one hand.
  • In busy corridors use automatically opening doors where possible and appropriate. This will help independent building users’ mobility.
  • Where doors are needed for fire compartmentation and are in everyday use, use electromagnetic hold-open devices to improve accessibility.
  • Don’t put pull handles on the push side of a door as this causes confusion.
  • Wherever possible use low-friction hinges so doors don’t need excess force to open or close.
  • Ensure door closers can be adjusted for closing pressure at different positions in their closing cycle.
  • Door openings should be sized for maximum accessibility and take into account the projection of the ironmongery when the door is open.
  • Doors should be set at least 300 mm from the adjacent wall, unless power operated, to allow wheelchair users to properly access the handle.
  • Ensure doors handles don’t clash with adjacent walls and so prevent the door from fully opening.

Make sure the door handles are easy to use for all users by considering the size, position, materials used, and the force needed to operate them. In particular consider how ironmongery can effect access for those with mobility , dexterity and cognitive challenges with the use of ironmongery to access public spaces in particular.

Recommended standards:

  • Door handles should be positioned where they can be used by people in wheelchairs, or scooters. Place between 800-1050mm above floor level, 900mm is ideal.
  • Consider how children use the building, especially in children’s departments. Place ironmongery out of children’s reach until a determined age.
  • To ensure all building users can use pull handles, consider the size of the handles and where they are placed. Pull handles should be at least 300mm long and the bottom of the handle should be 700-1000mm above the floor. British
  • Standards 8300-2: link to Design of an accessible and inclusive build environment. Building code of practice
  • Use low-friction hinges so doors don’t need to be forced to open or close wherever possible.
  • Minimise how much force is needed to work a door handle.
  • Where door closers are used, consider the force needed to open the door and ensure disabled people can access easily. If a force greater than 20N is required to open the door, consider a power-operated system.
  • Use the delay action on closers to ensure people have enough time to pass through the doorway before the door closes. See addition

Using contrasting colour surfaces and features in a building helps people with visual difficulties navigate their immediate surroundings more clearly.

Recommended standards:

  • Ensure ironmongery can be seen clearly by ensuring finish and colour contrast with the door leaf.
  • There are recommendations relating to colour contrast, in particular the relative Light Reflectance Value (LRV) of the adjacent surface colours. A difference in LRV of 30 points is considered to give sufficient contrast.

Ironmongery should be simple, safe to use and cause no harm. The design should consider the needs of all users and support ease of use.

Recommended standards:

  • Ensure all building components minimise the opportunity for self-harm, especially where mental health services are provided. Anti-ligature hinges, door handles, coat hooks other items can help minimise the risk of self-harm.
  • Specialist services such as mental health should review in line with specific needs for ant ligature door systems.
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