Brand Window - Audience - Manufacturers

BHMA 101

December 22, 2011

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Hardware is a mission-critical component of operable fenestration.

Recognizing this, a window or door intended for AAMA certification under the current North American Fenestration Standard (NAFS), i.e., AAMA/WDMA/CSA 101/I.S.2/A440, must have its various hardware items tested for compliance with applicable AAMA 900-series standards:

  • AAMA 901-10, Voluntary Specification for Rotary & Linear Operators in Window Applications
  • AAMA 902-07, Voluntary Specification for Sash Balances
  • AAMA 904-09, Voluntary Specification for Multi-Bar Hinges in Window Applications
  • AAMA 906-07, Voluntary Specification for Sliding Glass Door Roller Assemblies
  • AAMA 907-05, Voluntary Specification for Corrosion Resistant Coatings on Carbon Steel Components
  • AAMA 908-09, Voluntary Specification for Friction Based Sash Balances
These standards, in turn, typically reference ASTM test methods and ANSI/BHMA standards. For example, all hardware in general must meet AAMA 907 and ANSI/BHMA A156.18-2000, Materials & Finishes, for corrosion resistance.

In particular, NAFS (Section specifically requires that side-hinged door hardware meet the following:
  • ANSI/BHMA A156.1:2006, American National Standard for Butts and Hinges
  • ANSI/BHMA A156.2-2003, Bored and Preassembled Locks & Latches
  • ANSI/BHMA A156.5-2001, Auxiliary Locks
  • ANSI/BHMA A156.12-2005, Interconnected Locks & Latches
  • ANSI/BHMA A156.13-2005, Mortise Locks & Latches
  • ANSI/BHMA A156.17-2004, Self Closing Hinges & Pivots
These are part of the suite of ANSI-approved “builders hardware” standards developed by the Builders Hardware Manufacturers Association (BHMA), headquartered in New York City.

So what exactly is BHMA and where do these standards come from?

BHMA defines “builders hardware” (a.k.a. architectural hardware, building hardware or finish hardware) as products that are mounted onto the moving parts of buildings (doors, windows, drawers, etc.) in order to move, fasten or protect them.

The developer of standards for these products, BHMA, founded in 1925, represents more than 80 percent of all U.S. manufacturers of builder’s hardware. Together these companies produce the vast majority of the hardware items used in the nation’s commercial and institutional buildings - from hinges and locks to door controls and exit devices. BHMA is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) to develop and maintain performance standards for architectural hardware.

In addition to those referenced in NAFS as listed above, additional ANSI/BHMA hardware-related standards include:
  • ANSI/BHMA A 156.3 - Exit Devices
  • ANSI/BHMA A 156.4 - Door Controls - Closers
  • ANSI/BHMA A 156.6 - Architectural Door Trim
  • ANSI/BHMA A 156.8 - Door Controls - Overhead Stops and Holders
  • ANSI/BHMA A 156.9 - Cabinet Hardware
  • ANSI/BHMA A 156.11 - Cabinet Locks
  • ANSI/BHMA A 156.14 - Sliding and Folding Door Hardware
  • ANSI/BHMA A 156.15 - Closer Holder Release Devices
  • ANSI/BHMA A 156.16 - Auxiliary Hardware
  • ANSI/BHMA A 156.19 - Power Assist and Low Energy Power Operated Doors
  • ANSI/BHMA A 156.20 - Strap and Tee Hinges, and Hasps
  • ANSI/BHMA A 156.21 - Thresholds
  • ANSI/BHMA A 156.22 - Door Gasketing Systems
  • ANSI/BHMA A 156.23 - Electromagnetic Locks
  • ANSI/BHMA A 156.24 - Delayed Egress Locks
  • ANSI/BHMA A 156.25 - Electrified Locking Devices
  • ANSI/BHMA A 156.26 - Continuous Hinges
  • ANSI/BHMA A 156.31 - Electric Strikes and Frame Mounted Actuators
  • ANSI/BHMA A 156.32 - Integrated Door Opening Assemblies
  • ANSI/BHMA A 156.36 - American National Standard for Auxiliary Locks (formerly part of 156.5)
BHMA also sponsors a third-party certification of hardware products that operates in much the same way as the AAMA certification program for complete fenestration units. Under the BHMA-sponsored certification program, manufacturers voluntarily submit a hardware product to independent laboratory testing to confirm that the product fully meets the criteria of its ANSI/BHMA standard. To ensure a certified product continues to conform to its underlying standard, in-factory audits and retesting of the product are conducted periodically. Products unable to pass the auditing and retesting processes face loss of certification.

Gaining a listing in the AAMA Verified Components List (VCL) by a hardware manufacturer is a similar process in that a third-party laboratory must test the hardware item for compliance with a certain standard, but there is no certification and no follow-up plant inspections.

BHMA publishes an annual directory of all BHMA-certified hardware products. It is available at

BHMA works with AAMA frequently. Most currently, BHMA has contacted AAMA to determine if the Door Council wants to comment on drafts of revised standards for mortise locks and butt hinges (ANSI/BHMA 156.13 and156.1), and the AAMA staff is poised to distribute the document to Door Council members when it is received. There is also ongoing interchange of ideas among AAMA, the Door Safety Council and BHMA with regard to door thresholds in Type B dwelling units (accessible dwelling units with a ground floor level designed in accordance with ANSI A117.1-1998, section 1003) and concerning labeling of fenestration products to NAFS.


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