Door handles should be a priority for architects and specifiers

Often referred to by designers as the “jewelry of a building”, architectural hardware adds personality to all types of building projects. With over 25 years’ experience in architectural ironmongery, the John Planck team want to share their expertise on an item that is often instrumental in creating that first impression, yet is often one of the last considerations on architects’ and specifiers’ lists: door handles.

#1 – First & Last Impressions

The first thing you see and touch when entering a home or building is the door handle. It sets the tone and personality of the building and can help to create a lasting impression. Whether you’re looking for modern or traditional designs, there is a wide range of options available. And like jewelry, door handles come in many shapes and sizes. To get the design that is right for your project, talk to ironmongers with experience working across a wide portfolio of projects and have the skills to create quality rendered drawings to meet exacting standards.

#2 – Quality & Finish

Door handles are one of the most frequently used items in a building, so whilst design and style are important – getting architectural hardware that stands the test of time is crucial to maintaining the quality of your project. When choosing the look and finish, don’t just rely on catalogues. Meet with an ironmonger to discuss your requirements–you might discover door handles designs for your project that you hadn’t previously considered.

#3 – Safety & Security

Design is one thing; safety is another. When choosing door handles, don’t forget to consider components such as hinges, locks & door closing devices. The correct specification of such products is crucial, particularly in terms of safety and security. Talk to ironmongers with training in fire door safety, too. Their knowledge about building hardware can ensure that your project is up to code.

Choosing the right architectural hardware takes time, whether you’re an architect or a specifier. And with multiple stakeholders involved in the process, getting the right ironmonger is crucial in protecting the integrity–and safety–of your designs. Start the conversation early and save time later.

John Planck is one of the UK’s first specialist architectural ironmongers, adept at developing both modern and traditional architectural hardware solutions for doors, windows, pocket door systems and more.


A-Z Architectural Ironmongery Jargon Buster

As specialist architectural ironmongers, we know the architectural ironmongery world is full of jargon and fancy terms, some of which you may never have come across which can often leave you feeling lost and confused. Indeed, the term ‘ironmongers’ or ‘architectural ironmongery’ can be mysterious to many -its meaning being: “specialists who manufacture and/or distribute… products and goods that are made of metals such as iron, steel, aluminum, brass and also plastics” So we’ve set out to explain some of the architectural ironmongery terms and phrases in our very own A-Z Jargon Buster.

Access control
Systems and products that enable an authority to control, monitor and restrict access to areas and resources in any given physical location.

The distance from the leading edge of a door to the center point at which the door handle is attached and/or the key/turn lock is positioned.

Cam action
A type of internal mechanical operation of a door closer that gives a smooth and low-force requirement when opening and closing a door.

Door furniture
A term used to describe the operating products on a door such as hinges, latches, locks, door handles, etc.

Available in numerous shapes and sizes, these are used as a surround to the keyholes and cylinder locks on the door face for protection and decoration.

Flush pulls
Flush fitting door handles of all shapes and sizes that are let into the door face and used typically for sliding doors and where projecting handles are not permitted.

A process to prevent and protect steel and iron from rusting and corroding by coating the metal with a protective layer of zinc which is a less corrosive material.

Hush latch
An item fitted to the strike plate in the door frame for use with standard mortice latch and locks giving a smoother, almost silent opening and closing effect.

A product that expands with heat which offers protection to the product/material underneath in the event of a fire.

Jamb mounted
A term typically used to describe the fitting position of a door closer, i.e. in the door jamb (side of the door, as opposed to a common overhead type, which would be at the top of the door).

A type of door handle that is generally twisted/turned or pulled to manually open and close a door, made in a variety of materials and sizes.

A device used to hold a door into its frame. Not to be confused with a lock, these are generally operated by a handle (lever or knob type) from either side of the door to enable the free opening of the door.

Also known as the slot or hole that is cut to enable the fitting within the door rather than on the door of an item, such as a lock or latch. The cutting of the hole is known as morticing.

Night latch
It is a lock that can be either mortice or rim fitting. Residential dwellings often use a rim-style in addition to a deadlock for further security as well as convenience and safety. They are unlocked via a key from the outside, but a turn or handle from the inside so when the door is not deadlocked, opening or ‘escaping’ via this lock is possible at all times.

Stands for “Original Equipment Manufacturer”, which is a company that produces parts, products and equipment for use in products from another company.

Pocket door systems
Sliding doors that disappear into the wall when opened, typically used for architectural design effect but primarily to maximize space within a room(s).

Quadrant stay
A quadrant stay is used to restrict the opening of casement windows, allowing the window to open only at a fixed distance.

Also known as Rosette, is a round or square plate used behind the door lever or knob to attach it to the door.

The process of compiling a schedule of products that involves clients/architects working with an architectural ironmonger to identify the needs and requirements of the project, ensuring safety, functionality, accessibility, and security without compromising the aesthetics of the building.

A product used to lock and unlock a door without the need for a key, ideal in the event of a fire.

The ability for a product to be universally fitted, primarily referring to door closers that can be fitted to either the pull or push side of the door.

A plate for allowing air to flow between rooms and walls.

Weather bar
A wood or metal bar fitted to an external door to deflect and prevent water from entering through the door.

X-Ray door
These doors are specialist and lined with lead, which X-rays and gamma rays cannot pass through. They are an effective shield that limits exposure against the rays.

Yellow passivated
An electroplated finish (thin coating) offering protection to a material, typically zinc-plated due to zincs affordability and excellent corrosion resistance.

Z bracket
A bracket used to aid the fitting of a security door holding-magnet on inward opening doors.

You’ve reached the end of the A-Z architectural ironmongery jargon buster, it’s safe to say you are now an architectural ironmongery expert! Hopefully, we have provided you with a basic understanding of some of the terms in the architectural world, we’re here to take the stresses away so please get in touch if you require any assistance with your ironmongery needs.


Tom Planck Founder Biography

We are saddened to announce the passing of our Founder, John Planck following a short period of illness.

John was himself the son of an ironmonger and spent all of his working life within and dedicated to our industry.  He joined his Father at Alfred G Roberts (Exports) Ltd at the age of 19 and started his ironmongery career-path in the warehouse followed by pricing, estimating, sales and eventually going “out on the road” as a representative in the Summer of ‘69 …

In 1972, Alfred G Roberts was taken over by Laidlaw and Thomson and he was instantly made a Director.  He also became Laidlaw’s marketing manager, a position held for several years until, in the mid-’80s, Laidlaw split their London operations in two and John was asked to concentrate on the major projects being built in the Capital.  Newman Tonks then acquired Laidlaw’s and other architectural ironmongers in the late ’80s and created Thomas Laidlaw AHD (Architectural Hardware Division) and John was invited to become its Technical Director. He held this position until he declined their offer to relocate with his family to the North West of England in 1990 and so was made redundant.

Following his redundancy, he met John Monaghan and started a new venture in the South East of England, John Planck Ltd., which started trading on 1st January 1991.  Today, his company is still going strong based in Chatham, Kent thanks to the foundations built under his stewardship during his tenure at the company.

Tom & John Planck

John was also heavily involved with the trade’s association, The Guild of Architectural Ironmongers from the early 1970s, which itself has his Father, Richard, as one of the founding members.  John was a member of the association’s education committee in 1970 and was for many years a lecturer at the Guild’s residential courses and an examiner at the final years’ level.  John was a member of the Guild’s Executive Committee from 1973, apart from a short break in the early 1990s after starting John Planck Ltd and, most impressively, he was the association’s leader twice, as Chairman in 1984 to 1985 and President from 2000 to 2002.

John was instrumental in launching the Guild’s Specification Awards, but perhaps his most notable achievement was in conceiving and driving the AI2001 exhibition. He always felt it was a great shame that it was a “one-off” and that our industry was not able to support a dedicated exhibition as AI2001 was.

John also holds a unique record that is difficult to see being equaled.  He is the only President or Chairman of the Guild to successfully pass his final examination whilst holding office.  John was a top student and won the gold medal for his Diploma examination in 1984.

John was a devoted father of four sons, nine grandchildren, a loving husband, a mentor, and a leader.  He will be sadly and sorely missed by all who’s lives he has touched, both in and out of our industry.

“Black is the New Chrome” How Architectural Hardware is Transforming Interiors with a Classic Black Finish.

We are excited to introduce a new Classic Black finish from our partner FROST, an award-winning Danish manufacturer that shares our passion for blending form and function creatively. They have created this new generation of innovative interior design accessories and architectural hardware that showcases the sleek black look that is easier to maintain than chrome or brass.

This new product has allowed John Planck Ltd to expand our diverse portfolio of products further whilst still maintaining a focus on delivering high standards of quality, synonymous with the brand. As a company that prides itself on its thought-provoking, creative, cutting-edge interior design solutions, FROST has been a perfect fit for John Planck Ltd, keeping up-to-date with the latest design, technology, and innovation. Whether you’re looking for contemporary modern door handles or accessories for the bathroom, the line of black finishes that FROST has introduced is sure to help you perfect the details of your design.

John Planck Ltd will once again be exhibiting our partnership with FROST at this year’s 100%Design event from 19-22 September 2018 at Olympia, London.  We are thrilled to return to the largest architectural and design trade show in the UK to showcase the full Frost product range, including their Classic Black finishes. The range covers architectural hardware and accessories for any room in your home or workplace including kitchens, bathrooms, and living/working spaces. Nothing compares to getting your hands on actual products, so come see for yourself why John Planck Ltd is proud to team up with FROST.

For more information on the new Classic Black finish or details on any of the extensive range available, please contact the John Planck Ltd team at info@johnplanck.co.uk


Specification of Architectural Ironmongery Guide

The team at John Planck often field questions about the right way to specify architectural door hardware, so we thought we’d take this opportunity to summarize certain aspects of architectural ironmongery specification that need consideration, in conjunction with the Guild of Architectural Ironmongers’ Guide to Architectural Ironmongery.

The Main Considerations When Specifying Door Hardware

This may sound obvious, but the type of door hardware you’ll require depends on the type of building you’re working with, the people in it, and the frequency it will be used. Will people with mobility and strength issues need easy access to your spaces? Are you working with fire doors, self-locking, self-latching, or automatic doors? Will these be in a high traffic area? You should take all of these factors into account before you start to think about aesthetics.

Risks to Avoid

Time is of the essence when taking on any architectural project, and this includes making sure you have enough time to specify, procure, install and test architectural hardware. Working with an experienced architectural ironmonger will help cut down on time delays. Similarly, if you have constant specification changes to your design, this will delay the procurement process. Failing inspections are also a common cause of delays, so you need to make sure that you have your safety and security issues sorted ahead of time.

Finding an Architectural Ironmonger

Most architects find ironmongers based on personal recommendations from colleagues, but it’s always a good idea to qualify those recommendations. The best way to do this is to check to make sure you are employing a Registered Architectural Ironmonger. A Registered Architectural Hardware Specialist will have the abbreviation RegAI after their name as some of our team members

Working Efficiently with Your Ironmonger

Again, any architectural endeavor is always a race against time. Consider your door hardware and details early on. While this might seem like a last-minute type of task, it’s not. Give your ironmonger a floorplan and door schedule as soon as you can, and make sure you connect them with any other relevant parties, such as providers of automatic locking and access providers, so they don’t double their efforts.

John Planck Ltd is one of only a handful of companies that are “GuildMark” members of the GAI.  Individually, our staff train through the GAI’s education scheme, ultimately gaining a “DipGAI” qualification upon completion of the programme. Our team of experts is fully qualified in providing solutions for all projects from modern, through traditional, heritage and also any bespoke project requirements. Additionally, we use the most advanced scheduling system in the industry giving you an ‘at a glance’ schedule in an easy to use format.

Hopefully, this gives a basic insight into the specification process, we’re here to take the stresses away so please make contact with us and put us to the test.

5 Lever Handle Collection for 2019

Lever handles are manufactured in a large range of designs, sizes & finishes. If you know what you are looking for or browsing for inspiration, here is a summary of the John Planck Lever Handle collection for 2019.

  1. Fusion Lever Handles

The Fusion range is predominantly manufactured to suit the needs of the commercial market but equally suitable for residential use. Renowned for clean and simple lines, solid construction and durable fixing methods the range is the ideal choice for durability in a variety of spaces.

Designs are manufactured from Grade 316 Stainless Steel which can be Satin, Polished or Bronze finished adding a timeless touch to any project.

  1. Traditional Lever Handles

The Traditional range includes a collection of both modern and classic lines, produced from our brass foundries within the UK. From Bauhaus to Art deco, Antique to Traditional each includes their own variations of door furniture that is guaranteed to meet your brief.

  1. Modern Lever Handles

The Modern range features a number of innovative, unique and stylish designs, suitable for the commercial, residential and hospitality sectors. Primarily made from Grade 304 Stainless Steel this range of modern lever handles is available in a broad range of finishes and innovative rose designs – details that have proven to be popular with many interior designers and clients alike.

  1. Frost Lever Handles

The Frost range encapsulates Danish design at its very best. A long-standing partner of John Planck Ltd – Frost embraces the concept that Form is nothing without Function. Their range of door furniture is an inspiration to architects, interior designers and anyone who is looking to create complete solutions for any room.

  1. Fusital Lever Handles

The Fusital range is a collection of innovative and unique designer handles and matching accessories brought together from creations by world-famous designers and architects that are manufactured using revolutionary engineering processes in Italy’s well-renowned Valli & Valli factory.

John Planck Ltd is one of only a handful of companies that are ‘Guildmark’ members of the GAI (Guild of Architectural Ironmongers). Guild mark is a RIBA endorsed accreditation created by the GAI which enables the architectural ironmonger to demonstrate proficiency and professionalism in their work. To discuss a project get in touch.


Door Hardware. What’s on Trend 2019.

To offer your clients the latest trends in door hardware, take a look at what’s in style.

Enduring Black

Black complements almost any door and can add a simple yet bold modern statement to any project – so it’s always on trend. Black door hardware presents an image of elegance and authority; like the lever handle designs from our Frost range in their classic black finish; with complimentary products for kitchens, bathrooms, and of course door hardware available, it really can be used throughout.

The resurgence of Brushed Nickel

Whilst this finish has always been a popular choice, Design Magazines everywhere are currently showing a lot more of brushed nickel. Designers use brushed nickel hardware because it’s luscious and subtle, yet stands out and commands attention. Don’t be surprised if your customers ask for brushed nickel, great examples of handle design available in this finish can be found in our “Traditional” door furniture catalogue section.

Timeless Classics of Aged Brass & Bronze Hardware

Yes, it is true that brass dominates the hardware trends in 2018, but not all brass is equal. Antique, aged or satin and bronze finishes of all shades and patinas are equally desirable and set against the correct door backdrop can give an authentic, luxurious and impressive end result. Finishes like these also look great on a more modern decor or industrial interiors.

Avoid These Hardware Trends

Although some trends are timeless, some hardware finishes don’t withstand the test of time.

The demise of Aluminium

A stalwart of the ’80s and ’90s as a viable and affordable material on basic but functional, useable but uninspiring shapes.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t give any interior the look and feel they deserve

The Right Hardware Paired with Bad choice of Timber

The right choice of hardware can only do so much, the selection of timber is also important to the overall design. Consider a beautiful veneer or a factory finished timber door to compliment a good selection of hardware. The image below is from our recent work for the Royal Opera House shortlisted for the AI Specification Awards 2019 for further inspiration read the case study.

Door Hardware Trends: The Bottom Line

Door hardware trends come and go. However, there are a few that never go out of style. In 2019, why not give your project an elegant black appearance; or a classical, timeless touch with brushed nickel and brass finishes.  Whatever your design and requirements, we’ll have something to meet your project’s criteria so please get in touch with us to find out more.

Want to learn more about John Planck Ltd and the work we do, come to check us out.



Exam success at John Planck

We are thrilled to announced that three of the team at John Planck have successfully passed exams with the Guild of Architectural Ironmongery (GAI).

Alex Planck and Hollie Rowe sailed through their 1st year examination which, after completion of the 2nd year leads to to the ‘Certificate in Architectural Hardware’. Bryony Matthews has completed her third (and final!) year and now holds a diploma.

No other scheme offers such a broad knowledge and understanding of ironmongery, leading to the most recognised qualification in the industry. The GAI is very proud of its record of preparing so many students for a career in architectural ironmongery over 50+ years.

Tom Planck, Managing Director, says: “Throughout our history, we have always invested in the development and education of our team. Alex, Hollie and Bryony’s achievements are the result of many months and years hard work. I’m extremely proud of their commitment which means they are armed with the best knowledge when working on clients’ projects.”

About the GAI: The Guild has served the interests of its members since 1961. It is the United Kingdom’s only trade body solely dedicated to promoting the interests of the whole architectural ironmongery industry, Architectural Ironmongers themselves, and the manufacturers and wholesalers of Architectural Ironmongery products.

It also reaches out to overseas clients through the accomplished, and sought after, education programme, and activities of the Institute of Architectural Ironmongers (IAI). Members are provided with a highly rated education programme, technical advice and support, publications (The Architectural Ironmongery magazine below) and networking opportunities.

Certificate of Architectural Ironmongery – Well done Hollie!

We are super excited to celebrate another member of our team, Hollie, who gained a Certificate in Architectural Hardware. Despite the focus on digital transformation in every industry, the skills of making and creating tangible artifacts still hold immense value.This is why Hollie’s achievement is so special.

This marks the culmination of 2 years of hard work, learning and understanding the intrinsic nature of Architectural Ironmongery. It gives Hollie an excellent foundation of industry knowledge.

“I am very pleased to have achieved my certificate in architectural hardware… 2 years of hard graft… I can’t wait for the next stage!” Hollie

Our work often requires highly skilled craftsmanship and intricate detailing, and we make it a priority for our business to ensure our team gets the best training available. Digital technology is here to stay, and at John Planck, we combine traditional skills with modern methods. This ensures that our products represent the designer’s vision whilst standing the test of time.

Hollie’s achievements follow other members of the John Planck team who have successfully gained their certification with GAI (Guild of Architectural Ironmongers).

“I am delighted for Hollie–it is a wonderful achievement which gives her an excellent basis of knowledge in the industry.”  Tom Planck

If you have an existing project, or you are in need of inspiration, our team of qualified architectural ironmongers would be delighted to help you. Call us.

John Planck team further their qualifications

Our investment in the development of the John Planck team continues with three members of the John Planck team furthering their education and understanding of the ironmongery industry by taking exams with the Guild of Architectural Ironmongery (GAI).

Alex Planck and Hollie Rowe recently completed their 1st year examination which, after completion of the 2nd year leads to the ‘Certificate in Architectural Hardware’ and Bryony Matthews took her final exam which, if successful, will give her the ‘GAI Diploma’.

No other scheme offers such a broad knowledge and understanding of ironmongery, leading to the most recognised qualification in the industry. The GAI is very proud of its record of preparing so many students for a career in architectural ironmongery over 50+ years.

Tom Planck, Managing Director, says: “Ever since my father founded the business 25 years ago, we have been passionate about investing in education and training for our team. In order to provide the very best advice and service to our clients, we need to keep on top of the latest technologies, regulations, and innovations. The GAI qualifications are a fantastic way for our people to ensure they are armed with the best knowledge when working on clients’ projects.”

About the GAI: The Guild has served the interests of its members since 1961. It is the United Kingdom’s only trade body solely dedicated to promoting the interests of the whole architectural ironmongery industry, Architectural Ironmongers themselves, and the manufacturers and wholesalers of Architectural Ironmongery products.

It also reaches out to overseas clients through the accomplished and sought after, education programme, and activities of the Institute of Architectural Ironmongers (IAI). Members are provided with a highly rated education programme, technical advice and support, publications (The Architectural Ironmongery magazine below) and networking opportunities.




Ironmongery’s Past Sets Its Stage for the Future

At John Planck, we like to think of ourselves as historians who look towards the future of our trade–it’s why our customers trust us with helping them make the right architectural hardware decisions. Ironmongery has its own story to tell, so with this in mind, we thought we’d give a hat tip to our profession’s beginnings and consider its future.

We’ve come a long way since the Iron Age, which started around 1200-600 B.C.E. Back then, local blacksmiths were charged with creating all things iron, ranging from weaponry to tools to household items. Over the years, especially during the Medieval period, blacksmithing became more common. Just before the Industrial Revolution (pre-1750), regional styles started to appear, and each area of the UK had its own look and feel. Few pieces remain from this era, and those that do should be treated with the utmost care.

The Georgian Era (1750-1830) is when iron goods started to be mass-produced but still remained regionally identifiable. Styles began to change rapidly in the Victorian Era (1830-1900), depending on the whims of the tastemakers of the time. Catalogues and pattern books also appeared at this time, making it easier for customers to choose and order their items while still being able to touch and feel sample products in person.

Here at John Planck, we are able to reproduce Georgian and Victorian Era architectural hardware by taking advantage of 21st Century technology. Rochester Cathedral, which dates back all the way to 604C.E. and has since been renovated multiple times, is a great example of our ability to match existing historical hardware. By producing high-quality rendered drawings of specific pieces, we can then use 3D printers to generate rapid prototypes. With these prototypes, we can test to make sure the design fits exactly with your project before sending it to be manufactured by our dedicated foundries. Our process is the perfect blend of history and modernity, setting the stage for the future of architectural ironmongery.

If you have a project you’d like to talk to us about, give us a call at 01634 829 249


The 4th Industrial Revolution & Architectural Hardware

It’s not often that we in the architectural hardware world get to talk about emerging technology and its potential for our sector. Yet like so many conversations currently turn towards blockchain technology – cited as the 4th industrial revolution – the opportunity to get involved in the subject has squarely presented itself. In this article, we’d like to take a brief look at the use of 3D technology in today’s manufacturing world and explore how this use could potentially evolve the blockchain revolution.

3D Printing In Manufacturing

3D printing was one key technological innovation that initially showed potential for the manufacturing industry, but in fact, it’s been slow to gain adoption. To-date it represents only 0.01% of all manufacturing output (PWC Report 2017). The reason for this seems to be mainly economic – as yet it’s an unfeasible way to produce most parts currently manufactured in the world. The area where 3D printing has actually begun to make an impact is in the development of bespoke products. In this case, the statistics are significantly in favour of technology. The same PWC report reveals that 60% of 3D printed parts are for rapid prototypes. Why? Because it allows the specifier to identify issues and tweak products cost-effectively and in a timely manner.

3D Printing and Bespoke Architectural Hardware

It’s the second use-case of 3D printing that appeals to the demands of our business. Specialist architectural hardware businesses like John Planck Ltd have been quick to combine traditional skills with 3D technology mainly to meet the growing demands for bespoke architectural hardware. By developing onsite capabilities we are able to produce 3D rapid prototypes to help clients bring their ideas to life. This approach also allows for testing to take place on-site so we can ensure the product meets exacting standards before sending it to be manufactured by foundries – saving the client time and costs.

3D Printing and Blockchain

So what are the potential use cases for 3D printing in combination with blockchain, can this new technology help small to medium-sized manufacturing companies improve on efficiency, cost-saving and production of prototypes without compromising on quality? Quite likely, yes. Blockchain was originally designed for Bitcoin (a digital currency now in its 8th year). It’s a digital filing system (often likened to a ledger) and is immutable, without a central authority. Whilst its application is proven in the cryptocurrency world, its use-potential beyond digital currency is what everyone is talking about.

3D Printing Supply Chain

One possible application based on a user case researched by Frankfurt School Blockchain Center (November 2017) cites Cognizant Technology Solutions’ blockchain application project. As proof of concept, they are producing titanium cufflinks with a unique ID and digital product memory linked to data stored on the blockchain. It works like this: a designer registers their product design on the blockchain. To protect the design from plagiarism all data is encrypted. The design file uses smart contracts to automatically negotiate pricing, find the nearest and cheapest 3D printer and negotiate all conditions with the customer and the logistics service provider. All these steps are carried out without a middleman. After the order is produced, the blockchain provides a digital product memory, which includes the entire product history – i.e. the materials used in the production or the ownership of the product – enabling cost-saving when it comes to warranty, maintenance or recycling.

Can this concept translate to Ironmongery? Only time will tell if there is genuine potential for architectural hardware specialists to explore. In the meantime, the team at John Planck Ltd continues to focus on honing our craft using both traditional and modern technology to deliver ironmongery to the highest standards. If you like to learn more about our bespoke architectural hardware and our 3D printing capabilities please do get in touch!


Fire door Checklist

Correctly installing a fire door is crucial to its effectiveness. Any deviation from the manufactured and supplied certified door, be it trimming the door in any way, or maybe putting an additional hole in the door, etc. will void the certification that details the extent and detail the door has been tested to. All hinges, locks, latches & door closers (where required) must be CE certified and fitted securely with the appropriate fixings. This can be sometimes overlooked, which is why we have put together this Fire Door Safety Checklist to help & guide you through the processes. For more information on the importance of specification and installation watch this video from Fire Door Saftey Week.

Door Hardware UK – Our Specialist Advice on Fire Safety

John Planck Ltd has been receiving an increased number of inquiries related to architectural hardware and fire safety. With this in mind, we’ve invited our team member John Ducey to contribute a blog post specifically about fire doors and door sets. John has a Diploma in Fire Doors (DipFD) and is well versed in the importance of building hardware being up to code.

In light of Grenfell Tower, Tom Planck has asked me to share my knowledge about fire door safety and the importance of choosing, installing, and maintaining these doors. Fire doors are a vital part of the passive defense of any building and, when installed and maintained correctly, will save lives. They compartmentalise and slow down the spread of fire, smoke, and toxic gases. Unfortunately, fire doors are often incorrectly installed or poorly maintained which inevitably impacts their effectiveness.


When selecting a fire door, there are a number of factors to keep in mind. Make sure the doors have the correct fire rating. The rating classification of the wall determines the classification you need for the door. Generally, the highest rating is for three hours which typically relates to walls that separate buildings or divide large buildings into wings. You also need to ensure that your doors are measured accurately and have correctly specified frames and hardware. If there are excessive gaps between the door and the frame, the door won’t be effective in slowing the spread of fire and smoke.


Correctly installing a fire door is crucial to its effectiveness. Any deviation from the manufactured and supplied certified door, be it trimming the door in any way, or maybe putting an additional hole in the door, etc. will void the certification that details the extent and detail the door has been tested to. All hinges, locks, latches & door closers (where required) must be CE certified and fitted securely with the appropriate fixings. This is overlooked far too often. For more information on the importance of specification and installation watch this video from Fire Door Saftey Week.

Use and Maintenance

It might sound obvious, but in order for a fire door to work, it has to be closed. Propping it open or not closing it defeats its purpose. You’d be surprised just how often this happens. Just like with fire alarms and fire extinguishers, fire doors need to be inspected periodically to make sure that they are working well. Generally speaking, this should happen at least every six months. The label, hinges, latches, smoke seals, glazing, glass, and threshold gaps should all be checked.

Fire safety is of the utmost importance when sourcing architectural hardware. John Planck Ltd can help you specify the correct products which meet with the latest performance standards and carry the relevant certifications. Please contact us for any assistance you require.