Door knob code revisions generating controversy

Changes intended to aid elderly and disabled could provoke bear intrusions, critics charge

May 08, 2014 |
Photo: sixninepixels via

The City of Vancouver’s ban on doorknobs in all new buildings, which went into effect last month, has drawn a strong reaction from the public and heated debate across Canada as other jurisdictions consider the measure. The code revision, which substitutes door levers for knobs, is part of a broader campaign to make buildings more accessible to the elderly and disabled.

Critics, particularly doorknob manufacturers, have complained about government overreach. The Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA) says that Vancouver, the only city in Canada that determines its own building code (provincial governments have that power elsewhere), changed the rules on its own. If the city had asked for a revision of the national regulations, detailed cost studies would have been performed, the trade group says.

Other criticism has centered on the danger of bears, common denizens of British Columbia, to more easily enter a home through a door equipped with a lever rather than a doorknob. Pitkin County, Colorado, has banned door levers to diminish the possibility of bear intrusions.

Support for the door lever provision is widespread, however. Members of the municipal council in Halifax and city councilors in a Toronto suburb are considering asking their provincial government to follow Vancouver’s example.


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