BS EN 179 - In more depth

The BS EN standards are a benchmark for product performance across several areas. Each standard is used to show that the product has passed a series of tests relating to that particular standard. 

The standards include the following: 

  • BS EN 1906

    – The European standard for Lever handles and knob furniture and only applies to items which are used to operate locks or latches. 
  • BS EN 12209

    – The European standard for mechanically operated Locks and Latches. It covers both the physical testing of the locks as well as the method of operation. 
  • BS EN 1154

    – The European standard for controlled door closing devices, measuring door closure performance. 
  • BS EN 1155

    - The European standard for electrically powered hold-open devices. Relevant to electromagnetic door closure. This works in harmony with BS EN 1154, with CE marking mandatory. 
  • BS EN 1125

    – The European standard for panic exit devices. This is where a panic device must be fitted where members of the public are present but have no knowledge of the exit or hardware. 
  • BS EN 1935

    - The European standard for single axis hinges used on doors and windows. 

But the standard we will be focusing on today is

BS EN 179

which is the standard for ‘Emergency Exit Devices’. 

The testing an evaluation will result in a 9 digit code. Because BS EN 179 and BS EN 1125 are both harmonised under the construction products directive and must carry the CE mark. 

Here is a quick guide to how the BS EN 179 classification works. Remember each digit refers to a particular feature of the product which has been measured against the standards performance requirements. 

Digit 1 - category of use. 
Grade 1- Low frequency use. e.g internal residential doors, high care and low misuse. 
Grade 2- Medium frequency use. e.g internal office doors, high use with some chance of misuse. 
Grade 3- High frequency use. e.g public doors, little care and high chance of misuse. 

Digit 2 – durability 
Grade 6 – 100,000 cycles 
Grade 7 - 200,000 cycles 

Digit 3 -door mass 
Grade 5 – up to 100kg 
Grade 6 – up to 200kg 
Grade 7 – over 200kg 

Digit 4 - fire resistance 
Grade 0 – Not approved for use on fire or smoke door assemblies 
Grade A – Suitable for use on smoke door assemblies, based on the requirements of B1 annex B 
Grade B – suitable for smoke and fire door assemblies based on a test which is in accordance with EN1634-1. Annex B has additional requirements for emergency exit devices to the grade. 

Digit 5 –safety 
Grade 1- All exit devices are required to satisfy the essential requirement of safety in use. 

Digit 6 -corrosion resistance 
Grade 3 - 96hr (high resistance) 
Grade 4 - 240hr (very high resistance) 

Digit 7 – security 
Products covered by BS EN 179 have the opportunity of greater security than those covered by BS EN 1125. 
Grade 2 - 1000 N. 
Grade 3 - 2000 N. 
Grade 4 - 3000 N. 
Grade 5 - 5000 N. 

Digit 8 - projection of device 
Grade 1 – Up to 150mm projection (large) 
Grade 2- Up to 100mm projection (standard) 

Digit 9 - type of device 
Type A - Emergency device with lever handle operation. 
Type B - Emergency device with push pad operation. 

Digit 10 - field of door application 
Cat A - outward opening single exit doors, double door: active or inactive leaf. 
Cat B - outward opening slide exit door only 
Cat C - outwardly opening double exit doors = inactive leaf 
Cat D - inwardly opening single exit door only
Photograph of Laura Holland

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