equality act, glazed partitions

Building for Equality under the Equality Act – Glazed Partitioning Screens and Doors – Part 2

In the first of this two-part series, in which we are hoping to clarify the relationship between the Equality Act 2010 and Parts M and K of the Building Regulations 2010, we focused on the ‘visibility’ aspects of our products’ compliance. In this second issue, we focus on the regulation surrounding accessibility and practicality of use, and the impact this has on the implementation of our door set range.

When specifying doors and associated elements, such as openings and ironmongery, the regulations can seem unwieldy. Here, we hope to simplify the requirements.

For the purposes of this post, we are discussing compliance in relation to internal doors only, excluding fire doors.

It can be extremely difficult for wheelchair users, people with assistance dogs, low upper body strength or walking aids, to access door openings within buildings. Building designers and specifiers must therefore avoid creating access difficulties, whilst taking all steps possible to provide effective barriers against smoke and fire.

Section 3.7 of Approved Document M – Access to and use of buildings: Volume 2 (Buildings other than dwellings), states that if design cannot avoid the inclusion of doors, the use of self-closing devices should be minimised since, they disadvantage people who have limited upper body strength, are pushing prams or are carrying heavy objects (see Section 2.14).

In relation to opening forces, for disabled people to have independent access through manually operated doors (single or double swing doors), the opening force, when measured at the leading edge of the door, should be no more than 30N from 0˚ (the door in a closed position) to 30˚, and no more than 22.5N from 30˚ to 60˚ of the opening cycle (Section 3.10(a)).

For a single leaf door or one leaf of a pair, there are minimum clear opening width requirements for various wheelchair approaches, and other related dimensions. These are set out fully in Table 2 – Minimum Effective Clear Widths (within Approved Document M). The clear opening width is measured up to any projecting door item, including door furniture. A space of at least 300mm is generally required next to the leading edge of the door to enable wheelchair users to reach and grip the handle, unless the door is power operated (Section 3.10 (b) and (c)).

When fitted with a latch, the door opening furniture must be capable of being operated with one hand, using a closed fist, e.g. a lever handle (available within our product range), and contrast visually with the surface of the door (Section 3.10 (d) and (e)). Detailed guidance on suitable door furniture can be found in BS 8300.

Section 3.8 highlights that, the presence of doors, whether open or closed, should be apparent to visually impaired people through the careful choice of colour and material for the door and its surroundings. The requirements are listed in Section 3.10 (f) to (j) – see the first part of this series for further information on visibility requirements and how our products ensure compliance.

Planet appreciate the difficulties and challenges our clients face when incorporating fully accessible performance door sets into their designs, and we have therefore focused our efforts on resolving these issues by ensuring our products comply, whilst maintaining the aesthetics and performance desired.

Planet’s solution is a complete door set which includes a combination of elements specially designed to work together to meet the legislation – door leaf, frame, seals, hinges, handle, lock, closer and all other ironmongery. Our stunning range of co-ordinating door sets complement our partitioning systems and offer striking appearance, combined with UKAS certified performance.

For more information please contact us at info@planetpartitioning.co.uk

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