Get a Handle on the Legislation With Architectural Ironmongery

There is an increasing need for both public and private sector companies to ensure that ironmongery specified within their business complies with new legislative requirements.

Due to the complexity of the legislation affecting ironmongery specification in UK businesses today, the experience, knowledge and expertise embedded within the Architectural Ironmongery industry can provide companies with a valuable insight into how to comply.

There are 5 key pieces of legislation governing the industry of Architectural Ironmongery:

EN Standards
To harmonise the standards for architectural ironmongery across Europe, a number of European Product Standards or European Norms (EN) are being introduced which where relevant will replace the existing British Standard.

Products are classified by using a coding system which is similar across all building hardware products so that complementary items can be specified for instance to have a common level of corrosion resistance.

Disability Discrimination Act: 1995
The DDA requires employers to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to physical features and arrangements to avoid placing any employee with a disability at a disadvantage to others. Service providers are also required to anticipate the requirements of disabled people and make the necessary ‘reasonable adjustments’ to the way they deliver their services so that disabled people can use them.

The act does not set out a particular way of meetings its obligations and though designing buildings to the latest best practice standards will reduce the risk of claims being made, there are no guarantees.

Code of practice BS8300: 2001
BS8300 (Design of buildings and their approaches to meet the needs of disabled people) was first published in 2001 and provides guidance on good practice in the design of domestic and nondomestic buildings and their approaches so that they are convenient to use by disabled people. BS8300 makes a number of recommendations concerning Architectural Ironmongery.

Building regulations – Approved Document M
Document M came into effect on the 1st May 2004 (England and Wales) and offers ‘practical guidance’ with respect to the requirements of building regulations for non-domestic buildings. Approved Document M makes a number of recommendations concerning Architectural Ironmongery.

Harmonisation
BS8300 and Approved Document M were published separately and in some cases, there were anomalies between the two. This caused considerable confusion with specifiers especially as some of the requirements of Approved Document M were impractical. This confusion was rectified in June 2005 when a five-year review of BS8300 was undertaken and it was amended. At the same time a technical memorandum for Approved Document ‘M’ was published by the ODPM.

This route aligned the two documents on the many issues including visual contrast and door opening forces. Approved Document M and BS8300 have been successful in focussing attention on the ease with which people can move around buildings and the main issues concerning architectural ironmongery are to ensure that doors are easy to open and that the door furniture can by easily identified.

If you are looking to tender a project requiring a detailed specification of Architectural Ironmongery, it is worth checking whether the architects are registered with the Guild of Architectural Ironmongers (GIA). The GIA promotes standards of both integrity and excellence within the industry.

Footnote: Dryad Architectural Ironmongery is one of the UK’s leading brands of Architectural Ironmongery and is exclusively available nationwide from Wolseley through its specialist architectural ironmongery branches.

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