Exit Hardware Testing
BHMA requires specific testing for hardware used for means of egress. Its function during emergencies requires special consideration. In many cases, hardware must meet additional standards and codes before it can be tested to BHMA standards.
Since it is critical to safety, hardware on fire exit devices is fire rated, meaning that it must meet standards for fire safety as well as BHMA standards. Exit devices must meet the Underwriters Laboratories UL 305 rating for panic hardware in addition to BHMA’s rating. Testing for these devices is more rigorous, with products forced to undergo 500,000 or more cycles depending upon the grade level.
For door control-closers, doors must first be prepared for testing by weighing the door, mounted properly on hinges. Then specific machinery is employed to open the door to 90 degrees no less than 2 million times – a process which can take several months.
Per BHMA regulations, there are six sizes of closers. These are defined by closing force, which is measured at a certain point in the swing. When you push a door open, you exert a specific amount of force on the door. Builders want to ensure that the door closes with a similar amount of force, though inevitably it will close with less force than the amount used to open it. Builders try to keep this closing force to about 60 percent. So if a door is pushed open with 10 pounds of force, it would ideally return with six pounds.
Door controls (stops and holders) undergo five types of testing:
- Single point adjustable hold-open
- Single point non-adjustable hold-open
- Positive type holders less automatic release feature
- Friction slide type holders
- Non-friction slide or stop-only types
Stops and holders are tested in the stop position to ensure they can withstand a force of up to 300 pounds of unauthorized closing without sustaining damage. As with most BHMA products, door controls are also tested for durability and appearance.
Exit devices play a key role in the smooth operation of public spaces. When everything operates smoothly, they continue to go unnoticed – and that means the Builders Hardware Manufacturers Association is doing its job. ANSI/BHMA standards ensure everything performs perfectly, comforting to know when you need those exits the most.
The Builders Hardware Manufacturers Association (BHMA) announces the publication of ANSI/BHMA A156.36 - 2010 American National Standard for Auxiliary Locks. This standard establishes...
Product grades are defined by performance benchmarks, with Grade 1 being the highest level of performance.