It’s surprising to me that although door knobs such at the one shown in the photograph above have not been allowed by the code for probably 20 years, I still see them quite often. Door knobs are not allowed anywhere in a commercial building. Remember, while most believe the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is only for those individuals in a wheelchair that is simply not true. The ADA is for anyone with a disability and included in that group would be those individuals with arthritis. As you probably know, arthritis affects the joints and in some cases, makes it difficult or impossible for suffers to use their hands.
As a result, those with arthritis in their hands can not open doors with knobs. The ADA requires door hardware that does not require tight grasping, tight pinching or twisting of the wrist to operate. A door knob requires that someone must tightly grasp the door know and twist with their wrist to open and this can be almost impossible for those with arthritis.
To solve this problem, most commercial building owners simply install lever hardware such as the one shown in the photograph at the right. As you can see from the photograph, no tight grasping is required to open the door. Someone with arthritis can simply hit the lever with their fist to open the In addition to the requirements for lever hardware, in some building occupancies the lever must return to within ½” of the door to prevent clothing from being caught by the lever as someone is exiting the building.
Building owners should be aware there are certain other requirements for the door hardware including the mounting height of the hardware. Building owners are advised to secure professional assistance in selecting and installing door hardware.