The post-covid world


DHF’s safety recommendations for a ‘touch free’ environment

Door & Hardware Federation’s (DHF) marketing sub-committee for its Building Hardware Group members has been working hard since August 2020 to identify the most pertinent issues currently facing the building hardware sector.  It has been a challenging year for the industry, with Brexit and Covid-19 creating a ‘perfect storm’ of trial and uncertainty.  

“One of the more current and continuing problems the sector faces are the measures that will need to be taken going forward to limit transmission of the virus, and central to this is reducing ‘touchpoints’ throughout a building by means of anti-Covid hardware and fully-automated doors to enable access with no human contact,” explains DHF’s Head of Commercial Operations, Patricia Sowsbery-Stevens.  “This is crucial for building owners and facilities managers.”

In particular, doors are the one item we all touch every day; they form a physical barrier to keep us secure and safe, but how can risk be mitigated in the post-Covid world?  

Issues identified by the building hardware group and the marketing sub-committee have been addressed and the solutions provided will help minimise the spread of infection.  
“Something as simple as ensuring existing door hardware is being cleaned properly with anti-bacterial detergent and water solution can make all the difference,” says Patricia.  

“In areas of high traffic, products that enable doors to be opened without a person having to use their hands (e.g. using arm and foot pulls) can also be an easy and cost-effective solution.  The committee has also recommended products that feature anti-microbial surfaces, which can dramatically reduce the risk of transmission, and hold-open door controls can help keep doors open at all times, except in the case of an emergency.”

Products also exist for those seeking to offer a completely hands-free solution, such as access control devices requiring a ‘wave of a hand’ to open, and fitted with motion-sensing technology, which are best suited in bathrooms, hospitals, laboratories and schools.  Access control solutions using personalised keys can also provide an additional layer of protection. Sharing keys between personnel can quickly increase the spread of bacteria, and therefore, the use of individual keys can limit this risk.

The marketing sub-committee comprises 10 members (all with a marketing background) who meet regularly to discuss the many issues currently facing the building hardware sector, and ensure steps are taken to address them.  Late last year, DHF produced a publication entitled Biosafe Hardware Best Practice Guide; a copy can be downloaded for free from the DHF website

“With nearly all of the UK manufacturing companies forming the Building Hardware Group, the marketing sub-committee is a vital link between our members and the message that is sent out to the wider industry,” says Patricia.  “The next year – and beyond – will be a time of tremendous change, so we are delighted the sub-committee is dedicated to finding solutions to problems facing the building hardware sector in the post-Covid world.”