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The Americans with Disabilities Act to effect July 26, 1991 and mandates major changes for access systems. The ADA states that where is is economically feasible to remove a handicap barrier, it shall be removed."

Building owners and managers need to be aware of how this act effects their property and what devices are involved in removing access barriers.

While it is traditionally perceived that building a ramp where there was once steps is the solution . That is only the beginning . The ADA ace is dealing with Doors, Door Operators. Door Closers, Locks, Handles, Pushbars, Pulls and more

Although regulations vary, two main issues traditionally have stood out in regards to entrance:

  • Minimum Width of Clear Opening 
  • Force to Open the Door. 
To accommodate wheelchairs the width of the clear unobstructed opening of the doorway has generally been established at 32". This requires a 36" door when opened.

The force required to open the door has always been a handicap barrier problem. Different conditions exist that make some doors harder to open than others. The code requirements vary from different agencies. The code requirements range from 5 to 8.5 lbs.. for interior doors and 8 to 15 lbs. for exterior doors.

A few factors which might cause a door to be difficult to open include: a malfunctioning knob or lever which is difficult to turn, air/wind drafts from AC or outside wind,, a malfunctioning or improperly installed door closer, loose weather-stripping, an malfunctioning lock latch. Any of these conditions could cause a door to not meet the minimum force requirements. If any of your entries do not meet the code, service amy be required in one or more of the potential problem areas.

The ADA act addresses these issues, as a facility owner. manager you should be aware of this legislation and the impact is has on your property. Hill's Bros. Lock & Safe has compiled a helpful 24 page ADA Guide to Locking Hardware. It is available at no charge for the asking. Call us at (714) 636-5652 or e-mail us at

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