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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.

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.

Lever Handles on Rose

A lever handle on rose will require a separate turn and release set fitted to a bathroom door.  In most cases there will be a matching one displayed in related products on the product page on the website.  The advantage of a matching turn and release set is that it will be the same size and finish as the rose of the lever handle, giving the best possible look to the door.  A bathroom turn and release set consists of two parts;  a turn knob for the inside of the door and an emergency release part for the outside of the door.  This part incorporates a slot which can be turned with a coin or screwdriver to opern the door from the outside in an emergency.  This function is required on new build doors for Building Regulations.  The two parts are connected by a 5mm square spindle which passes through the deadbolt mechanism in the door.

For a bathroom turn and release set to work, it requires a mechanism fitted into the door, such as a bathroom deadbolt.  The lever handle itself will require a mortice latch fitted into the door.   Choosing these two separate mechanisms will give the maximum flexibility to fit the lever handle and turn and release set  in any position on the door.  Remember to choose the same size case for the mechanisms.  This will mean that the lever handle and turn and release set will line up exactly underneath each other.  

A lever handle on rose and a turn and release set can be fitted to a mortice bathroom lock as an alternative solution.  A mortice bathroom lock has a latch bolt and a deadbolt in one case.  This means that the lever handle and the turn and release would have fixed positions on the door.  Generally this allows approximately a small finger's width space between the lever handle and the turn and release set.

Lever Handles on Backplate

Lever handles on backplate are handles that are fixed to a long rectangular or shaped backplate.  These generally come in a minimum of 3 styles; lever latch, lever lock and lever bathroom.  Some lever handles on backplate also have a lever euro and lever privacy version.  The lever privacy version is not to be confused with the lever bathroom version.  These days, lever privacy handles are very uncommon - although they are used on bathroom doors, they work very simply on a mortice latch only.  They do not require a full bathroom mortice lock.

Lever bathroom handles have an integrated knob turn on one of the backplates and an emergency release on the other.  The emergency release is simply a slot which can be opened with a coin or a screwdriver if it is necessary to unlock the door from the outside.  This function is required on new build doors for Building Regulations.  A bathroom mortice lock is required to be fitted into the door for a lever bathroom handle to work.  

Bathroom Lock Regulations

Bathroom Lock RegulationsBathroom 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 be fit for 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

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 of 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  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

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:

British Standards
  • 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.