If you’ve spent any time around door hardware, you are probably aware of the Builders Hardware Manufacturers Association (BHMA) standards for builders hardware. These standards address everything from hinges (A156.1) to integrated door opening assemblies (A156.32) and just about everything in between. Since I mentioned a new-ish BHMA standard in a recent webinar on the changes to the 2021 model codes*, several people have asked me about it.
BHMA A156.41 is the Standard for Door Hardware Single Motion to Egress. It describes the requirements for door hardware to comply with building code and fire code requirements that mandate a single releasing motion to unlatch a door for egress. This requirement applies to egress doors in most locations, with the exception of entrance doors to individual dwelling units and sleeping units in multi-family residential buildings. Another exception was added to the 2018 edition of NFPA 101, allowing classroom doors in existing K-12 schools to have hardware that requires two releasing motions as long as the other criteria of the Life Safety Code are met.
For other egress doors, the model codes mandate one releasing motion to unlatch the door for egress, meaning that all locks and devices must unlatch simultaneously. Because of questions surrounding classroom security and the potential for inconsistent interpretations, BHMA created a new standard – A156.41. Although this standard is not yet referenced in the model codes, you may see it in a specification or referenced elsewhere.
The standard is intended to apply to hardware that has been certified to another BHMA standard – for example, BHMA A156.3 – Exit Devices (AKA Panic Hardware) or A156.13 – Mortise Locks & Latches. Locking or latching hardware that has been certified to a BHMA standard can be evaluated in a lab for compliance with A156.41. The standard describes the installation of the test sample, the measuring equipment, and the type and direction of the releasing motion. It also limits locking/latching devices to one per door, making it clear that a door can not have multiple locks or latches installed unless specifically allowed by code.
To order a copy of BHMA A156.41 or any of the other BHMA standards, visit BuildersHardware.com. If you are an Allegion employee, don’t forget that we have access to these standards via our Techstreet subscription (contact me if you need help with this).
*Don’t worry! I’ll be conducting the webinar on the 2021 model code changes again the coming months!