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Bathroom Lock Requirements



Bathroom locks are primarily for privacy; they're not generally designed to provide any real security. There are however a few things which are required when you're buying new furniture for a bathroom door, and they're often overlooked.

The most important requirement when you're buying a bathroom lock is that you look closely at what you're buying. If you're buying a door handle on rose - 'rose' is the small round or square plate, usually around 5cms in diameter, to which the lever is attached - you will ALSO need to buy a separate thumb turn and release. A lever handle will not operate a bathroom turn and release; a separate locking mechanism is required since you won't be able to operate a turn and release on the latch operated by the handle. The same principle applies to lever handles on backplates; a separate turn and release lock is required, or a separate deadbolt.

For convenience, Handles4Doors offers several elegant styles of door handles which incorporate a thumb turn and release lock on the backplate, usually it's found just below the handle. If you're really stuck choosing furniture for your bathroom door then these are the simplest options you can find. If you want the freedom of choice however, then you can pick any door handle you want and couple it to your own preference of thumb turn and release design.

To summarise the information above briefly, make sure you look closely at the door handle you're buying for your bathroom. If there's no mention that it comes with a thumb turn and release lock, then you will probably have to buy a separate locking mechanism.

These are the requirements you need to bear in mind when you're buying your door furniture, but there are other external requirements which you need to consider. These requirements are laid out by the Building Regulations.

Bathroom Lock Regulations

Bathroom locks are subject to all the same regulations as every other piece of door ironmongery. In brief, the materials used in the construction of the bathroom lock must be 'adequate and proper'; essentially they should be strong enough to withstand the use they will be subjected to, prepared and fitted correctly and professionally and should perform the purpose for which they were designed.

Furthermore, under the latest ISO 9001 2000 Quality Management Principles - which are general but very strict requirements - any product sold in any region which conforms to ISO 9001 must promote the importance of quality, meet customer's or consumer's requirements, and offer good after-sales support.

Simple. The international trading regulations tell us that any products manufactured and sold must be good quality. But the Building Regulations do make some specific references to bathroom locks. While there are no rules on the design of bathroom locks - as long as it works well, is built well, and is fitted well it should be fine - there are a couple of rules regarding health, safety and accessibility.

External Operation of Bathroom Locks


The most important regulation is that any bathroom lock, cloakroom lock or en-suite lock in any public building must be accessible from the outside; i.e., a bathroom lock must have the ability to be operated externally, in case of emergency. While this regulation doesn't necessarily extend to private residences, all our bathroom locks can be operated from the outside, for the sake of security and to protect you from any future amendments to the regulations.

The bathroom locks in public buildings must also be operable to those with limited mobility. While it's impractical to try to cater for every unique situation, it must at least be demonstrable that your bathroom locks have been designed to be comfortably operated by as many people as possible, regardless of personal circumstance. Again, this regulation doesn't apply to private homes but it's certainly worth considering anyway. We have a wide range of large, stylish, functional bathroom locks, any one of which would be finish your bathroom door off really well. However, if you're buying for a public building - and the Building Regulations define a public building as any building where people are employed; so your workplace is a public building - then you should first make sure that the lock is easily operable. A thumbturn lock, like the one you probably have in your bathroom at home, may not be adequate under the requirements.

British Standards of Bathroom Locks

Bathroom locks are also subject to the requirements laid out by the extensive BS EN 12209 standards. As with most British Standards regulations, the requirements are based on common sense under reasonable circumstances. Under BS EN 12209 (which replaces BS 3621 and BS 5872 for all you Standards completists out there), all mechanically operated locks, latches and locking plates are divided into separate grades; there are three performance grades and five security grades. Each lock is assessed on the following qualities:

  • Minimum and maximum operation temperatures
  • Resistance to corrosion
  • Strength of the latchbolt and its spring
  • Maximum torque required to operate locks
  • Strength of handle and mechanism
  • Strength of any keys used in operation
  • Necessary closing force

A lock's performance under these tests will decide its grading. The performance grades are as follows:

  • Grade 1 - Light use
  • Grade 2 - Normal use
  • Grade 3 - Extreme use

Bathroom locks will usually fall into either Grade 1 or Grade 2, which means they must be able to withstand at least 10,000 rotations to fall into Grade 1 and at least 25,000 rotations in Grade 2. These are the minimum requirements for a snib mechanism - which includes most bathroom locks. Bathroom locks are classified under 'Privacy Locks' by BS EN 12209, and privacy locks are the lowest grade of security - particularly because under the Building Regulations they have to be accessible from both sides in public buildings.

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