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Nov 21 2013

Big News: Vancouver Bans Doorknobs

Category: Locks & Keys,NewsLori @ 11:39 am Comments (6)
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No More KnobsThe Canadian news networks are all abuzz with the latest code change for the city of Vancouver, Canada.  As of March 2014, doorknobs will not be allowed on new construction – including single family homes.  Here’s where you can read all about it:

City of Vancouver Shows Doorknobs the Exit – The Two-Way

The doorknob is dead. At least in Vancouver, British Columbia.

A recent revision in the city’s building code, designed to improve accessibility, shows the door to the venerable knob, replacing it with the hipper and easier-to-use lever.

The Vancouver Sun:   “In September, Vancouver council adopted new amendments to its building code, effective next March, that, among other things, will require lever handles on all doors and lever faucets in all new housing construction.”

The change has been coming for some time. Last year, for example, all the Art Deco doorknobs in Vancouver’s heritage-listed City Hall were swapped out for “utilitarian gold-coloured levers,” The Sun says.

The newspaper says Vancouver is a national trendsetter, so there appears to be no way out of the doorknob’s impending demise across Canada.

Vancouver Bans Doorknobs in Pursuit of Universal Design – The Independent

Legislation has been passed to change Vancouver’s official building regulations so that all new construction plans only include doors which open with a lever-style handle.

While the ban on doorknobs does not extend to existing buildings, as refits and new builds gradually take over it is inevitable that the now dated method of opening doors will be phased out.

The decision has not been made for aesthetic reasons, however. The city is instead pursuing the concept of “universal design” – that all buildings should be accessible to as many people as possible.

Vancouver to Ban Doorknobs – Toronto Sun (with video)

The new building bylaw, to come into effect in March 2014, bans doorknobs in new homes, favouring the more accessible door handle instead.

The ban not only applies to municipal buildings such as Vancouver City Hall, where most of the treasured art deco style doorknobs will be removed, but extends to all new homes built within city limits.

The bylaw is not retroactive, so if residents won’t have to get rid of doorknobs they already have in their homes.

Nobody panic, but Vancouver has banned doorknobs – The Consumerist

There won’t be a door knob police squad busting into homes however, just all new housing construction will have to comply with the updated code and use lever handles and faucets. So if you’ve got a knob, you can keep it. Cherish it, call it your precious, whatever you want.

But anyone moving into a new place, don’t expect the knob to greet you with its circular little face. Some see that as going too far, including a Yankee with a certain affection for the things.

There is an animated version of this news story on Youtube.

What do you think?  Does this code change go too far by extending into single family residential construction?  Or is it a step in the right direction toward access for all?

6 Responses to “Big News: Vancouver Bans Doorknobs”

  1. Jamo Ladd says:

    Honestly,
    I think this building code has gone too far. Yes, I do believe in making public buildings handicap accessible, especially for life safety reasons. But I have problems with dictating to a homeowner what they can and cannot do. I feel government is too far reaching as it is. I am sure if a home owner deems it practical to have levers, he will have levers, if they enjoy knobs and they do not have arthritis in their hands they should have knobs.

  2. Chuck says:

    I don’t see anything wrong with this, other than it may hurt some of the smaller ‘residential’ hardware manufacturers.

  3. Jerry Austin says:

    “If you like your door knob, you can keep it!”

  4. Safecrackin Sammy says:

    It sounds as if they are behind in comparison to our ADA for public buildings.
    As far as the residential application I am neutral.
    Most people even if not handicapped like levers since they are easier to operate when your hands are full etc.

  5. cda says:

    Just a little too far

    If the home owner wants a lever than they can buy one

    I figure the doorknob lobby is going to get up in arms about it!!!!

  6. Logan says:

    As a father of two boys, I can tell you how much more difficult life would be if those child-sized tornadoes were able to get into every room in the house as soon as they could reach the lever. My house has a couple of levers but mostly knobs. My little one is only 1 1/2 and he can already open anything with a lever on it.

    Ok, that’s kind of a silly argument but the point is that in non-commercial, non-public construction the homeowner should not be required to provide accessible features.

    I am a big advocate of accessibility in commercial construction, and I fully support requiring a percentage of accessible units for large scale developments of single family homes. HOWEVER, From the perspective of a single owner constructing a new home for themselves, there should be very few restrictions.

    IMHO the only things that should be regulated in SFR are those that are a direct affect on life safety. I admit that it’s a weird dichotomy where I advocate for fire sprinklers, but not door levers, but i guess that’s where my priorities lie.

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