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Control the Door Standards Set

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

The first set of our Hardware Highlights grouping is called Control the Door and contains the following six BHMA Standards:

ANSI/BHMA A156.4 - Door Controls - Closers
ANSI/BHMA A156.8 - Door Controls - Overhead Stops and Holders
ANSI/BHMA A156.15 - Release Devices - Closer Holder, Electromagnetic, and Electromechanical
ANSI/BHMA A156.17 - Self Closing Hinges & Pivots
ANSI/BHMA A156.19 - Power Assist and Low Energy Power Operated Doors
ANSI/BHMA A156.38 - Low Energy Power Operated Sliding and Folding Doors

These six standards are grouped together to coincide with the educational programs of the Door and Hardware Institute (DHI) organization. “Control the Door”, like it sounds, covers the array of hardware that control the opening and closing of a door, depending on the application. Controlling the door can be vital for fire rated openings as well as security. The titles, along with their respective Hardware Highlights, provide a basic description of the type of “control”.

Manufacturers and test labs participate in the development of these standards and are the primary users. Products are designed by manufacturers to meet these standards and also do their own testing with test labs verifying compliance. It’s important for architects and specifiers to be familiar with standard requirements for building design and hardware selection. Other users who refer to the BHMA standards in this set include those involved in building maintenance and code compliance.

It’s important to note that some ANSI/BHMA standards are referenced in various codes such as A156.38-2019 from this set. It is for “Low Energy Power Operated Sliding and Folding Doors” and referenced in the IBC and IFC. In this instance, door assemblies are required to comply with the requirements of this standard.

In the United States specifically, commercial buildings generally include contracts that require hardware to meet the applicable BHMA standards. The BHMA Certified® Products Directory is the source to verify hardware meets the BHMA Standard. Additionally, these standards are used worldwide with many countries adopting similar systems to apply BHMA requirements.


Many BHMA Standards were originally compiled by the US Department of Commerce then transferred to BHMA under a program to place control and updated to the private sector. In addition, BHMA became an ANSI accredited Standards Developer Organization in 1983 adding “ANSI” to their title. The chart below illustrates when they were first published by BHMA.

ANSI/BHMA Standard A156.


Year First Published by BHMA


Door Controls - Closers



Door Controls - Overhead Stops and Holders



Release Devices - Closer Hold, Electromagnetic, & Electromechanical



Self Closing Hinges & Pivots



Power Assist & Low Energy Power Operated Doors



Low Energy Power Operated Sliding and Folding Doors


BHMA standards for hardware strive to describe, quantify, and verify every significant aspect of builders hardware including durability, security and appearance. Compliance provides quality assurance to everyone involved from the builder to the public.  

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