Nation & World News

City Of Vancouver Shows Doorknobs The Exit

By Scott Neuman on November 20th, 2013

The doorknob is dead. At least in Vancouver.

A recent revision in the British Columbian city’s building code, designed to improve accessibility, shows the door to the venerable knob, replacing it with the hipper and easier-to-use lever.

The Vancouver Sun reports:

“In September, Vancouver council adopted new amendments to its building code, effective next March, that, among other things, will require lever handles on all doors and lever faucets in all new housing construction.”

The change has been coming for some time. Last year, for example, all the Art Deco doorknobs in Vancouver’s heritage-listed City Hall were swapped out for “utilitarian gold-coloured levers,” the Sun says.

The newspaper says Vancouver is a national trendsetter, so there appears to be no way out of the doorknob’s impending demise across Canada.

Some accuse Vancouver city officials of flying off the handle with the new code. Allen Joslyn, president of the (New Jersey-based) Antique Door Knob Collectors of America says understands that in a public building “everybody wants to have free access and that is a problem.”

“But to say that when I build my private home and nobody is disabled that I have to put levers on, strikes me as overreach,” Joslyn says.

Consumerist writes: “There won’t be a doorknob police squad busting into homes however, just all new housing construction will have to comply with the updated code and use lever handles and faucets.”

“So if you’ve got a knob, you can keep it. Cherish it, call it your precious, whatever you want,” the website says.

Even so, The Sun says:

“It is not like the doorknob will disappear entirely. Like many inventions, it will hold its own for a long, long time. There are, after all, a few people who still use typewriters instead of computers. Vancouver’s rule is not retroactive to existing homes. But over time, the effect will become magnified as housing is replaced.”

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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