The accessibility standards include limitations on the amount of opening force required to open a door and the amount of closing speed allowed for doors equipped with door closers or spring hinges. These limitations are intended to ensure that doors on an accessible route open easily and close slowly so they do not impede building occupants who are attempting to use the doors. Often, these requirements can be met by adjusting the door closer.


Exterior doors and fire doors are exempt from the opening-force requirements in the accessibility standards, but that doesn’t mean there are no limitations on the force to open these doors. NFPA 80 includes some guidelines for fire doors, and local codes may address requirements for exterior doors. The International Building Code also includes limits on opening force for both manual and automatic doors – including fire doors and exterior doors.

The minimum time to close the door depends on whether the door is equipped with a door closer or spring hinges. A door closer will control the door and allow it to close more slowly and latch consistently. Spring hinges, while not prohibited for use on doors on an accessible route, require momentum to latch the door and therefore close the door much more quickly.

For detailed information about opening force and closing speed, read this Decoded article, and then proceed to the review questions below. If you have already read the Decoded article for Class 4F in the life safety and egress section, you can go directly to the review questions.


Review Questions

1. The accessibility standards require an interior, non-fire-rated, swinging door to open with a maximum of how many pounds of force?

  1. 3 pounds
  2. 5 pounds
  3. 8.5 pounds
  4. 15 pounds

2. Which of the following may apply to doors that are exempt from the opening-force requirements of the accessibility standards?

  1. Building codes
  2. Fire codes
  3. Local codes
  4. Referenced standards
  5. All of the above

3. The accessibility standards include which of the following closing-speed limitations for doors equipped with door closers?

  1. 5 seconds to close from 90 degrees to 5 degrees
  2. 12 seconds to close from 70 degrees to 12 degrees
  3. 5 seconds to close from 90 degrees to 12 degrees
  4. 6 seconds to close from 85 degrees to 0 degrees

Answers: 1 – B, 2 – E, 3 – C