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Public Building Ironmongery Requirements

Building Regulations are made and enforced under powers granted by the Building Act 1984 and affect England and Wales. The Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, and Scotland each have their own regulations, although there are no significant differences between them; they're all based on common sense and simple, good building practice. The edition on which the information below is based is from the Building Regulations 2000 (as amended in 2004, 2006 and 2007). This is the most recent and relevant version of the building regulations.

Although the regulations we're about to discuss apply mostly to public buildings, virtually all new buildings and building work are subject to the regulations. They exist to protect the good health of the public and to ensure safety in and around buildings; whether they're public buildings or not. They also exist to offer information on energy conservation, and they provide guidelines for access to and use of buildings.

An important point to consider is that the regulations define a workplace as a public building; if you're installing ironmongery in your workplace then it should conform to the regulations just like every other public building.

Ironmongery for Fire & Escape Doors

ironmongery-for-fire-doors

Any building materials supplied for sale in the EC (European Community, and in the wider European Union after 2009) must comply with the Construction Products Directive; and specifically the ironmongery used for doors in public buildings will need to meet these requirements for safety, in the case of a fire.

The Construction Products Regulations is the primary legislation for the supply of construction products - including ironmongery - in the UK. Therefore, the Construction Product Directive is part of UK law, and paperwork is necessary to show that any given construction product is complying with the Construction Products Regulation.

The broadest of the regulations - the one which is most applicable to most building projects which use ironmongery - is that the building work be carried out with materials which are 'adequate and proper'. More specifically, the materials used in the ironmongery for public buildings should be appropriate for the purpose for which they're used. They should be prepared adequately to serve their purpose, and should be used or fixed so they can perform the function properly for which they were designed. All building work should be carried out professionally and in a workmanlike manner.

There needs to be documentary evidence for every piece of ironmongery on a fire door to show that it's passed some sort of fire test. This documentary evidence could be a fire test report, an assessment, some relevant product authentication, or the inclusion of the product in the fire door's fixing instructions published by the manufacturer of the door.

Door Closing Devices

briton-door-closer

Door closing devices in public buildings are defined by the regulations as a device which can close a door from any angle and against any latch attached to the door. If a door closing device adequately satisfies these requirements, then it's safe to use in public buildings, and the door closers available from Handles4Doors are compliant.

If you are on the side of caution in terms of public ironmongery, then you need only look for the CE mark on your products. The easiest way to show conformity to the Construction Products Regulation is to mark the products with CE (which stands for Conformit Europene - an indication that the marked product conforms to the Europe-wide agreement on the standard of Building Regulations). You'll find the CE mark on all approved panic exit devices, hinges on fire and emergency doors, and door closing devices on fire doors. As a rule, don't use any products in these environments unless they are marked CE.

The guidelines below are based on the Regulations, and are offered to give an indication of best practice. They don't represent definitive laws as such, because until there are some prosecutions brought over the regulations, it's difficult to define what's wrong and what's right in terms of legislation.

  1. Use only CE stamped ironmongery - especially hinges, closers and escape devices - on your project; any other products should at least be tested by British Standards.
    To stay safe, you should really just stick to CE marked products.
  2. Workplaces - loosely defined as anywhere in which people are employed - are all considered public buildings. This must be considered when planning ironmongery and door fittings; if you're buying ironmongery for a workplace, you're subject to the Building Regulations and failure to comply could be disastrous.
  3. 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.

The safest ways to conform to the requirements for ironmongery in public buildings are simple; use your common sense and don't cut corners.

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