Specifier Review
Equality Act Compliance High on the Agenda

Equality Act Compliance High on the Agenda

With many of our largest institutions now insisting that the door set opening force requirements set out in the Equality Act are met, it is vitally important for specifiers to work with manufacturers who can achieve these exacting standards.

Building Regulations Approved Document B, Appendix B – Fire Safety – says that fire doors should be fitted with a self-closing device and that many doors need to be sealed to meet smoke control requirements. This can add to the difficulty of manoeuvring through a door-opening against the force exerted by the closing device and any extra resistance exerted by seals and air pressure differentials.

For disabled people to have independent access through single or double swing doors, the opening force, when measured at the leading edge of the door, should be no more than 30 N from 0° (the door in the closed position) to 30° open, and no more than 22.5 N from 30° to 60° of the opening cycle.

Balancing all these requirements can be quite a tough act. But, using special door set geometrics, Leaderflush Shapland has developed a complete engineered door set solution which satisfies the Equality Act opening forces requirements whilst still complying with fire and smoke control regulations.

The independently tested Leaderflush Shapland solution is a complete door set which is a combination of elements specially designed to work together to meet the legislation – doorleaf, frame, seals, hinges, handle, lock, closer and all other ironmongery and it is subject to special installation and air pressures in the building. When all these elements come together correctly, the solution is effective for almost any type of door set.


Hospitals have a very high number of users for whom door opening forces can be a very real problem – wheelchair users, porters with trolleys, people with low upper body strength, patients on crutches, people with assistance dogs, etc., etc. – yet they obviously need the security of smoke and fire protection.

Equality Act compliance was high on the list of priorities for the new Salford Royal Hospital which, by the time it is finished in 2012, will provide 36,000 sq meters of new accommodation and refurbished buildings, vastly improving facilities for patients, visitors and staff.


The £200m project will replace outdated, 125-year-old Victorian wards giving a total of 242 hospital beds in buildings fit for 21st century healthcare. A&E and associated departments will be integrated into an Emergency Village and the work will encompass both outpatient and inpatient accommodation including operating theatres, children’s facilities and a new facility for older people with mental health problems. Half the rooms in the new building will provide single, en-suite accommodation.

Additional work includes the building of a new Education Centre including lecture theatres, a library, 30 seminar/training rooms and numerous interview rooms.

The design brief called for  the environment to support patient care, for example through attractive open spaces, brighter, roomier areas, improved infection control and sanitary facilities and, wherever possible, providing separate ‘routes’ for patients currently transferred along crowded, multi-use thoroughfares.

Over 1000 door sets were specified for the project from Leaderflush Shapland’s Designer range, supplied in crown cut American white oak veneer and laminate and PVC facing options in a variety of colours. Performance characteristics included 32 RwdB sound reduction and up to 60 minutes fire resistance. Additionally, door sets providing X-ray protection were specified from their Extended Performance Range.

An antimicrobial additive incorporated as standard into the lacquer of all Leaderflush Shapland veneered door sets helps to protect against the spread of infections and kills harmful bacteria including C.diff, MRSA, Salmonella and E.coli and remaining effective for years.

The Designer Range door sets were constructed with EnduraCor – an exclusive engineered performance core whose durability and stability make it especially suitable for harsh environments such as Salford Royal Hospital. In a recent independent test, EnduraCor was shown to be one hundred times more durable than multi-layered chipboard. This highly cost-effective solution could significantly reduce ‘whole life’ repair and maintenance costs and may never have to be replaced.

Salford Royal Hospital is part of the Balfour Beatty Northern Batch Hospitals PFI programme for which Balfour Beatty Construction Northern Limited won a RoSPA Gold Award for Occupational Health and Safety. Tameside Hospital, Pontefract Hospital, Pinderfields Hospital and the Birmingham Super Hospital are also part of the Northern Batch Hospitals programme who have all benefited from door sets supplied by Leaderflush Shapland, the UK’s leading manufacturer of bespoke performance timber doors and door sets.

Leaderflush Shapland

For many years, Leaderflush Shapland has been very successful in healthcare through an in-depth understanding of the sector’s unique needs. They have created a range of innovative products and door set solutions which are suitable for the most demanding situations including surgery suites, pathology labs and pharmacies and can satisfy a wide range of technical requirements such as fire resistance, smoke containment, sound reduction, water resistance and X-ray protection.

Three hospital schemes which are on the list of Europe’s most-impressive architectural projects have also used Leaderflush Shapland door sets – the New Stobhill Hospital in Glasgow, Downe Hospital in Northern Ireland and The Skypad Teenage Cancer Trust Unit in Cardiff. Competing with flagship residential, leisure, industrial and educational facilities, the three developments were singled out as examples of design best practice in the 2010 RIBA Awards.

For more information about Leaderflush Shapland, call 01773 530500 or visit www.leaderflushshapland.co.uk