The biggest trends shaping door hardware

Richard Morris, national new business manager at UAP, discusses the key trends affecting the manufacture and specification of door hardware and locks.

Changing legislation, customer expectations and design perceptions are all having a major impact on door hardware and locks. To keep up with the pace of change, manufacturers must continuously improve and innovate, providing a wider choice of products that can meet current and future needs.

Fire safety

The Grenfell tragedy has triggered significant change across the construction industry. New legislation has been introduced to improve building safety in England, including new fire door regulations.

The type of door, and how it is installed, are now subject to stricter criteria with a focus on the ‘golden thread.’ This requires details of the manufacturer, certification, components, and installation to be sourced and maintained.

For manufacturers of fire-rated door hardware, the rules mean an even greater focus on raising standards and continuous improvement. Making sure products are tested to, and exceed, the latest fire safety standards is a top priority.

Third-party certification is an essential part of this process. This provides specifiers with the assurance that fire-rated door hardware will perform as expected.

The Certifire certification for example, involves factory production audits at each site where the product is manufactured in accordance with ISO 9001 and additional requirements of the Certifire scheme. This process independently verifies the hardware’s performance ensuring installers and end-users can make an informed decision when selecting the product.

Smarter tech

Technology is affecting the way we all live, and this is generating more innovation across the door hardware industry. Manufacturers are investing in extensive research and development to create products that satisfy demands for more flexibility, security and convenience.

At UAP, these requirements are shaping new ‘smart’ products under our Fullex Ai brand. These include the Ionic, an ultra-secure electronic door lock with features specifically designed for social housing, student accommodation, and domestic properties.

Comprising an integrated power supply and wireless charging, the Ionic enables a door to be opened and closed using Bluetooth on a mobile phone. The lock offers the most advanced security encryption on the market and can be installed on timber and composite doors of any thickness between approximately 44mm to 54mm. No complex wiring is needed making the product as simple to fit as any multipoint lock.

Health and safety

The pandemic has shone the spotlight on improving hygiene, leading to more touchless solutions, particularly in public places. Smart technology is at the heart of many of these products, allowing access to be controlled via a fob, mobile phone or a wave of the hand.

Investment in this area is growing, with research underway into new solutions that can cost-effectively help to minimise the risk of viruses spreading. This will see new products brought to market which can improve the hygiene of existing touchpoints.

UAP is at the forefront of this innovation with plans in place to launch a revolutionary product later this year under a new Armadillo brand. Forming part of a range named Armasmart, this has been designed to provide an anti-bacterial coating for door handles which does not tarnish.

Design preferences

Door hardware design is another area which is constantly evolving, driven by several factors, including a demand for more quality, choice and versality. These trends are seeing a shift towards more stainless-steel products in doorsets such as new lift and lock handles on rose, which can be used with the FlexiLock, our latest addition to the Fullex range.

In response to customers’ feedback, door handles in a wider range of styles, colours and finishes are also being launched. Furthermore, a desire to match internal and external doors has led to the launch of internal handles which can operate with the lift and lock function, enabling them to be used with a multi-point lock.

A step ahead

As trends develop and change, manufacturers of door hardware and locks are responding quickly and proactively. This is defining an industry that is not afraid to push the boundaries with products that set new standards for quality, innovation and safety.