BS EN 179 – Emergency Exit Devices

This standard covers the devices to be used in emergency situations where people are familiar with the emergency exit and its hardware and therefore a panic situation is most unlikely to develop. Lever handle operated escape locks or push pads may therefore be used. BS EN 179 applies to type A (lever handle operated emergency devices) and type B (push pad operated emergency devices)
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10-Digit Coding System

This standard covers devices to be used in emergency situations where people are familiar with the emergency exit and its hardware and therefore a panic situation is most unlikely to develop. Lever handle operated escape locks or push pads may therefore be used.

BS EN 179 classifies emergency exit devices by using a 10-digit coding system, each digit referring to a particular feature of the product measured against the standards performance requirement.

Digit 1 – Category of Use

One category is identified:
Grade 3: high frequency of use by public and others with little incentive to exercise care.

Digit 2 – Durability

Two categories are identified:
Grade 6: 100,000 cycles
Grade 7: 200,000 cycles

Digit 3 – Test Door Mass/Size

Two categories are identified:
Grade 5: up to 100 kg
Grade 6: up to 200 kg
Grade 7: over 200 kg

Digit 4 – Suitability for Use on Fire/Smoke Doors

Three grades are identified:
Grade 0: not approved for use on fire/smoke door assemblies
Grade A: suitable for use on smoke door assemblies
Grade B: suitable for use on fire and smoke door assemblies based on a test in accordance with BS EN 1634-1.

Digit 5 – Safety

All panic and emergency exit devices have a critical safety function. Therefore, only the top grade 1 is identified.

Digit 6 – Corrosion Resistance

Two grades of corrosion resistance are identified according to BS EN 1670:2007:
Grade 3: high resistance
Grade 4: very high resistance

Digit 7 – Security

Products covered by BS EN 179:2008 have three identified categories and have the opportunities of greater security than devices covered by BS EN 1125:2008. This is because BS EN 179 devices are subject to testing with doors under greater pressure.
Grade 2: 1,000 N
Grade 3: 2,000 N
Grade 4: 3,000 N
Grade 5: 5,000 N

Digit 8 – Projection of Device

Two categories are defined:
Grade 1: projection up to 150 mm (large projection)
Grade 2: projection up to 100 mm (standard projection)

Digit 9 – Type of Device

Two types are defined:
Type A: lever handles operation
Type B: push pad operation

Digit 10 – Field of Door Application

Three categories are defined:
Category A: outwardly opening single exit door, double exit door: active or inactive leaf
Category B: outwardly opening single exit door only
Category C: outwardly opening double exit door: inactive leaf only
Category D: inwardly opening single exit door only

Fire Door Hardware Specification Issues

The UK construction products regulations require panic/emergency exit hardware to be safe and durable. European standards BS EN 1125/179 are the recognised way of demonstrating compliance and they require that an official notified body proves both the product and the manufacturers factory production controls before CE marking can be applied.
With effect from October 2003 European law recommends all relevant panic/emergency exit hardware be CE marked when fitted to a fire door.

Source: Door and Hardware Federation (DHF) Best Practise Guide – BS EN 1125:2008 & BS EN 179:2008 Panic and emergency exit devices

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