Best practice external doors and windows

Issue date December 2016


Do not


Finger trapping
Doors fitted with proprietary hinges that push the door away from the stile leaving large gaps must not be used.


Glass-louvred windows
Must not be used. They have proved to be a security risk and have given rise to draughts and heat loss.

Window blinds
Chain / cord operated blinds must not be used unless chain / cord tidies are used. A number of young children have become entangled with the cords and chains with in some cases tragic consequences. A manual crank handle / gear operation should be considered.


Solar control glazing

Pilkington Arctic Blue glazing has performed well on other projects helping to deal solar gain and overheating issues. Lead in time for obtaining the material can be an issue so you will need to plan ahead.


Should be durable, robust and suitable for easy operation by the relevant building users.

Doors and windows

Consider the use of the standard specification for aluminium doors and windows held by OCCCL.


Minimum standard  
To be robust, durable and appropriate to the type of use they are likely to receive. This is particularly important in the foundation stage areas of schools where heavy doors with strong closers make it difficult for the young children to move about freely.

Automated doors
Push pad low energy operated doors are preferred to sensor operated. Door handles are to be fitted to enable able bodied users to open the doors manually. Where double doors are fitted the push pad should be capable of opening a single door instead of the pair provided the door is wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair user. Guard rails must be fitted to prevent users from standing in the vicinity of the opening door(s).

Door closers
The addition of closers, fire resisting glazing and smoke seals is only to be incorporated when required by the fire officer or for fire compartmentation purposes.
Adequate clearance must be provided on the hinge side of the frame to allow the door to open to its full opening width. Ensure that the strength of the closer is appropriate for the weight/ location of the door. Consider the use of concealed door closer to reduce the opportunity for vandalism.

Door opening width
The maximum width of a single leaf, or one leaf of a double leaf door should normally meet the requirements stated in Table 2 Section 2 of Part "M" of the Building Regulations for new build and existing buildings subject to the following:

  • Only external doors regularly used by the public needs to have a clear opening width of 1000mm through a single leaf door, or one leaf of a double leaf door.
  • Users of sports wheelchairs generally require a total clear opening width of 1200mm

Finger trapping
External doors should have rounded stiles (pivot) (excluding where automatic doors are required or for domestic premises).


Opening modes of windows
The complex design of 'tilt and turn' windows can make them expensive and prone to failure.
Windows fitted with a cam operated fastener provide a safer more stable and secure window.  
The design of opening windows should prevent inadvertent locking.

Consider the type of glass to be used or the provision of blinds / drapes to prevent direct sunlight causing a problem to building users including hot spots and glare.

Consider the position of handles to flyscreens needs to be carefully considered as there is normally a worktop or sink unit to lean over to reach the handle.

Do / ensure


All windows where the cill height exceeds 1600mm above finished floor level are to be fitted with Teleflex window winding gear or similar approved.

Windows are to be internally beaded for security reasons.

Doors and windows

Security internal glazing beads must be specified on aluminium or PVC-U windows and doors.

A good quality letterbox, capable of taking A4 size envelopes, is to be fitted at the main entrance. This should be fitted with a suitable fire proof receptacle.


Door restraints
A positive door restraint incorporating a hold open device is to be fitted to all new external outward opening doors (excluding domestic premises).