- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 10 Apr 2018
Doors are openable barriers at the entrance to buildings, rooms or other spaces such as cupboards that allow people, vehicles or goods to enter and leave. They most commonly swing on hinges and include furniture or ironmongery that allows them to open, close, stay closed and sometimes to lock.
There are a very wide variety of door types:
- Interior / exterior.
- Fire rated / escape.
- Integral frame / separate frame or frameless.
- Solid, transparent or translucent, either in part (such as vision panels) or in their entirety. Transparent doors may include manifestation as required by part k of the building regulations.
- Manually operated or powered.
- One leaf or two leaf.
- Hinged inwards, outward or both, or revolving, rolling or sliding.
- Energy rated.
- Timber (hollow or solid core), aluminium, steel, UPVC, glass, and so on.
For more information, see Types of door.
 Construction, ironmongery and other door furniture
Typically, the opening for a door is formed by a penetration through a wall, with a lintel over the opening to transfer the structural load to the side walls. The door is then secured to a door lining or casing which is then concealed behind a door surround or architrave.
In order to allow proper operation and durability, doors may include:
- Locks, bars, release mechanisms and entry systems.
- Closers (although these may disadvantage people with limited upper body strength).
- Pull handles, push plates and kicker plates.
- Door stops, latches, chains and hooks.
- Vision panels and manifestation.
- Peep holes.
- Letter boxes.
- Numbers and names.
- Draught excluders.
- Intumescent strips and fire protection.
 Standard sizes
Standard sizes for single leaf doors include:
|306 x 1981||1’ x 6’ 6”|
|381 x 1981||1’3” x 6’ 6”|
|457 x 1981||1’6” x 6’ 6”|
|533 x 1981||1’9” x 6’ 6”|
|610 x 1981||2’ x 6’ 6”|
|686 x 1981||2’3” x 6’6”|
|762 x 1981||2'6" x 6'6"|
|813 x 2032||2'8" x 6’10”|
|826 x 2040|
|838 x 1981||2'9" x 6'6"|
|864 x 1981||2'10" x 6'6"|
|864 x 2083||2’10” x 6’10”|
|914 x 1981||3' x 6'6"|
|914 x 2134||3’ x 7’|
|926 x 2040|
|1026 x 2040|
|1067 x 1981||3’6” x 6’10”|
Custom sizes are also available.
However, the Building Regulations require a clear open width rather than a door leaf dimension. The clear open width will depend on the size of the door leaf, the width of the door leaf, the width of the frame stop, the hinge throw and the width of any door furniture on the facing side, such as the door handle.
In new buildings, and where practical in the refurbishment of existing buildings, doors should be designed to allow access by people with disabilities, including wheelchair users and their carers. This requires a level threshold, that suitable space is provided to allow access to and beyond doors, that doors are easy to operate, and that a minimum clear width is provided by the door opening itself.
According to approved document M, the effective clear width of a door ‘…is the width of the opening measured at right angles to the wall in which the door is situated from the outside of the door stop on the door closing side to any obstruction on the hinge side, whether this be projecting door opening furniture, a weather board, the door or the door stop.
See Door clear opening width for more information.
Doors should not exceed the maximum permissible opening force, and on manually operated doors, door furniture should be easy to operate by people with limited manual dexterity, and be readily apparent against the background of the door. To some extent, these requirements can conflict with other requirements of the buildings regulations and other regulations, for example for the provision of privacy, safety and acoustic separation.
Doors, whether open or closed, should be apparent to visually impaired people through the choice of colour and material for the door and its surroundings.
It defines a fire door as:
‘A door or shutter, provided for the passage of persons, air or objects, which, together with its frame and furniture as installed in a building, is intended (when closed) to resist the passage of fire and/or gaseous products of combustion and is capable of meeting specified performance criteria to those ends. (It may have one or more leaves and the term includes a cover or other form of protection to an opening in a fire-resisting wall or floor, or in a structure surrounding a protected shaft.)’
Article 17 of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 requires that a maintenance regime is established to ensure equipment such as fire doors are kept in an efficient state. Article 18 requires that the responsible person appoints competent person(s) to assist in undertaking preventive and protective measures. This includes ensuring fire resisting doors and escape doors are correctly installed and maintained, with inspections carried out every 6 months.
In 2015, on their third anniversary, the FDIS reported that 61% of fire doors inspected had problems with fire or smoke seals, nearly a quarter had unsuitable hinges and many fire doors had bigger gaps between the door and frame than the required 3mm.
 Find out more
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Automatic release mechanism.
- Controlled fitting.
- Door clear opening width.
- Door closer.
- Door energy rating.
- Door terminology.
- Fire compartment.
- Fire door.
- Fire Door Inspection Scheme.
- Fire resistance.
- Following edge.
- How the substrate affects external timber doors.
- Leading edge.
- Types of door.
- Types of lock.
- Width of doors stairs and escape routes.
- Window and door schedules.
Featured articles and news
Do you know your Rococo from your De Stijl, your Gothic from your Post-modernist?
May outlines a new funding strategy for housing associations and says the 'stigma' of social housing needs to end.
RIBA launches a consultation on a new Plan of Work for Fire Safety.
This article offers some basic rules to follow when writing your next specification.
The iconic Mackintosh Building will definitely be rebuilt, board chairwoman confirms.
The machinery used to fashion stone has changed dramatically - and so have the products.
This type of pile provides support to the building, as well as acting as a heat source and a heat sink.
Why investors are adopting the SDGs and why civil engineering could be crucial for delivering them.
Read about all the winners from the London ceremony of CIAT's 2018 Architectural Technology Awards.
How do you find the right stone to conserve historic buildings?
Appointment agreements often include a ‘scope of services’ setting out the consultant's performance on a project.