Door opening force is the measurement of how many pounds of force are required to open a door. The requirements for door opening force are found in the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG), ICC/ANSI A117.1 Standard on Accessible and Usable Buildings and Facilities, and the Massachusetts Architectural Access Board requirements (521 CMR).
In a nutshell:
- Fire -Rated Doors – Not included in accessibility requirements – size 3 closer recommended for 3′ interior doors per NFPA 80.
- Interior Doors – 5 pounds of force.
- Exterior Doors – 15 pounds of force - Massachusetts AAB 521 CMR only - the ADA and A117.1 do not include a requirement for exterior doors.
- Sliding or Folding Doors – 5 pounds of force.
Note that the maximum forces allowed by the IBC (2003) for an egress door are 15 pounds to release the latch, 30 pounds to set the door in motion, and 15 pounds to swing the door to the full-open position (1008.1.2). Power-operated doors are subject to the same requirements except that the maximum force to set the door in motion is 50 pounds (1008.1.3.2).
Here is the text from the 2009 edition of ICC A117.1 – Accessible and Usable Buildings and Facilities:
404.2.8 Door-Opening Force. Fire doors shall have the minimum opening force allowable by the appropriate administrative authority. The force for pushing or pulling open doors other than fire doors shall be as follows:
1. Interior hinged door: 5.0 pounds (22.2 N) maximum
2. Sliding or folding door: 5.0 pounds (22.2 N) maximum
These forces do not apply to the force required to retract latch bolts or disengage other devices that hold the door in a closed position.
Here is the text from the Massachusetts Architectural Access Board Requirements – 521 CMR:
26.8 DOOR OPENING FORCE
The maximum force for pushing or pulling open a door shall be as follows:
26.8.1 Doors: These forces apply only to opening the door, not to the effort required to retract latch bolts or disengage other devices that may hold the door in a closed position.
a. exterior hinged doors: 15 lbs.
b. interior hinged doors: five lbs.
c. sliding or folding doors: five lbs.
Exception: Fire doors shall have the minimum opening force allowable by the appropriate administrative authority.
26.8.2 Compensating devices: Doors requiring greater force shall be equipped with compensating devices to reduce the operating force, or shall be equipped with automatic opening devices.
We use this measuring gauge to measure door opening force.
If the opening force is more than allowed by code, in many cases the door closer can be adjusted in the field. If the opening force can not be reduced enough to meet the code requirements, using an automatic operator may be a solution.