Vancouver Bans Doorknobs, Infuriates Chuck Woolery

Quite literally. Vancouver recently amended codes to forbid doorknobs on new/retrofit construction starting March 2014.

The rationale for this: door knobs are notoriously bad in terms of accessibility for disabled people. If someone cannot grip and twist, they cannot open doors. As such, codes like the Americans with Disabilities Act have (for years) mandated that knobs in public/institutional buildings be replaced by leversets.

Anyone installing access control may find themselves replacing doorknobs with levers as a result.

The exceptional aspect of Vancouver's mandate: the ban extends to private residences as well. Beyond public access, even homes are forbidden to use round door knobs.

Former gameshow host Chuck Woolery is outraged. Mr. Woolery is running for Congress (in the US, not Vancouver) and is pointing to the doorknob ban as another example of overreaching government, even to the point of building campaign promos opposing it:

Politics aside, I think the phasing out of round doorknobs is a net good. Better, more useful, and more accessible levers are available in the market, and cost is equal. Unless someone is just sentimental about knobs, there is no reason to use them.

However, do you think Vancouver has gone too far in banishing knobs in Canadian homes? Chuck does.

I just fact checked: The ADA has banned doorknobs in the US since 'Title III' was ratified in 1994.

The ADA doesn't apply to residences, though, does it?

No, the ADA does not apply to residences.

I think it's kind of a strange decision to ban them in homes. At least single family homes where no one is disabled. True, the home could be sold to a disabled person, who'd be stuck changing them out, but require the seller to do it then.

I will say I much prefer levers to knobs, so it's sort of welcome, but that's just me. Nothing like trying to work the doorknob with your hands full.

Although I am not a Republican, and I prefer the lever-type hardware, I'm with Chuck on this one!

Chuck would also be infuriated if you mistake him as Republican. He is a Libertarian.

(I didn't want you ending up on his bad side for that, Cynthia.)

Wow! I stand corrected! Thanks for looking out for me, Brian. I never know when I might need an emcee or a politician. :-)

On a practicle side I have seen more than once where becuase they are lever sets small children and even dogs are able to open doors, where if the door has a door knob they would then not be abe to. so there is still an advantage to a door knob for this reason. I'm just pointing out a fact I have witnessed personnally.

Good point, Tim!

We have levers in our home, and a couple of times a year it, hurrying past a door, a belt loop gets caught and destroys another set of trousers. I acknowledge it's rather petty in the context of this discussion (pair of pants vs the constant challenges of disabled living). Can't the law just demand fully automated doors -- "open sesame" worked for Ali Baba? Oh, right, it didn't work for the 40 thieves, did it?

...hurrying past a door, a belt loop gets caught and destroys another set of trousers.

Jeez Horace, how fast are you moving exactly?! ;)

Homeowners insurance would probably cover it, though not explicitly.

And when I just about have people convinced how anti government, anti regulatory nut jobs are nut jobs, something stupid like this come out. What next, voice enunciation of my house number required for blind pizza delivery guy?

You order pizza? Don't you know that pizza isn't healthy? You shouldn't be allowed to order pizza....

No dumber than having Braille instructions on drive-up automated tellers.

One problem I have with this initiative is that it could ultimately make door knobs more expensive for the rest of those in Canada who still prefer to use them as Vancouver is one of the three biggest real estate markets in Canada. Not that I have any real preference and might lean towards the lever-type if given the choice.

Has anyone heard of this happenning in other jurisdictions, apart from the ADA which has already been mentionned?

I think it's a real dumb idea to apply it for residential, but as a Canadian I have to ask, why does an American running for Congress (canada doesn't have a congress, no sense calling it american congress) care what happens in Canada? Especially to the point of making a campaign about it. I didn't think things trickled down, always upwards from America to Canada.

Some of these guys just like to call us Canadians socialists with every chance they get, which is exactly what he does in the audio clip that was posted, even though it's only a municipal by-law in Vancouver's case. Will the real knobs please come forward!

You keep trickling down socialism, we'll keep trickling up crime. =)

Where's Matt? As a resident of the Vancouver area, you'd think he would have chimed in by now. Considering his position on BC's traffic cameras, he should be an expert on their (door) knobs!

Ask me if I care. Go on, ask... I dare you.

It's much ado about nothing, as far as I'm concerned, probably because it ranks so high on the silliness scale, along with most of the reigning civic government's initiatives (like encouraging residents to keep backyard chickens and grow wheat instead of lawns, and don't even get me started on the wild proliferation of permanent separated bike lanes).

However, since it applies to the City of Vancouver specifically and really doesn't affect me out here in the burbs with no plans to build a home anytime within the city anytime in the foreseeable future...

I thought Soundy was being facetious with the references to backyard chickens - evidently not:

Really common in many areas. I live in an incorporated city in SoCal and among the local codes are:


In the R-E-40 zone, only the following uses are permitted as hereinafter specifically provided and allowed, subject to provisions of Chapter 17.64, governing off-street parking requirements:


D. Animals and poultry under the following conditions:

1. Ordinary household pets, including but not limited to dogs and cats. Not more than two adult dogs and two adult cats are permitted for each dwelling, together with offspring under four months of age,

2. Poultry and rabbits for family use, not to exceed twenty-four adult poultry and six adult rabbits for each main dwelling, together with natural increase until maturity,

3. Horses, not to exceed one animal over one year of age for each ten thousand square feet of net lot area, and offspring under one year of age,

4. Poultry or animals, excepting ordinary household pets, shall be kept or maintained on the lot as follows:

a. Not within fifty feet of any school, church, hospital, place of business, dwelling, mobile home, or building constructed or used for human habitation, with the exception that this required separation may be reduced to twenty feet in the case of a dwelling on the same lot occupied by the owner of the poultry or animals,

b. Not within twenty-five feet of any common side lot line with any abutting lot or parcel when the main dwelling or building has not been constructed on such abutting lot or parcel,

c. All poultry and animals shall be kept and maintained in such a manner as to prevent offensive odors, flies, dust, noise and other nuisances;

NOTE: Roosters are banned within city limits, thankfully!

That is for RS-40 lots (40,000 sq. ft. +). Smaller lots allow less chickens and no large animals.

Glad I didn't disappoint - in fact, this was not only made permissible, but actually encouraged by the Vision Vancouver government.

Ditto the push a few years ago to encourage residents (particularly those in the lower-income neighborhoods, setting aside for a moment, the fact that anyone able to afford to BUY a house anywhere within 50 miles of Vancouver proper, can probably afford to buy their own flour) to grow wheat instead of grass in their lawns. Of course, this was much hyped and I'm sure a good number of people jumped right on board... right up until harvest time when they realized there was much more to getting anything productive out of their yards than simply driving a mower over it... nevermind that a full summer's worth of lawn growth would probably provide enough flour for one week's worth of sandwich bread.

It seriously reminds me of the hippie era of the 60's and 70's. To many, "Tune In, Turn On and Drop Out" meant moving to a small farm and living off the land. Guess how long that lasted for most of them?

I live in Vancouver. Commercial buildings have required this for quite some time (early 90's). The city of vancouver is progressive with fire sprinklers as well. Vancouver was one of the first cities in North America to mandate fire sprinklers in ALL new construction. That was passed in the 1988 building code.

Frankly, the costs for installing accessible hardware just makes good sense. The average age of the population is getting older. Just wait until your home bathroom has to be wheelchair accessible.

This discussion has gotten IPVM censored in Qatar. Member forwarded this to me, evidently 'pisses' is not approved in Qatar:

Thanks Brian. I hope Chuck Woolery and can take up the fight on this one too.....









Too late....

It seems that people like to make fun of "right wing nutjobs" who resist regulations that are an arguable "social good". Even if you count yourself among those making fun, I'm sure that you can think of one right that you currently have and excercise, which could be one day construed as contrary to the "social good". It would behoove all of us to consider this.

Legislators have essentially 2 powers: 1) Make something illegal, and 2) spend taxpayer money. The job tends to attract those who measure success by how well and often they are doing those 2 things. So yes, I believe that eventually rights that NON-right-wing-nutjobs cherish will also fall prey to the bored legislator, and for that reason I sympathize here.

Chuck hasn't even scratched the surface of Vancouver weirdness, though he has no business complaining about how one city in a foreign country legislates their bylaws. Vancouver is the only charter city in Canada, which gives it more powers than elsewhere in the country. As noted in other responses, the chicken and wheat bylaws, misguided bike lanes initiatives (I'm a cyclist and still think it's stupid) and many other Vision Vancouver idiotic 'livability' measures make me grind my teeth. That said, the lever handle requirement is generally a good idea. Using handles with a return on the end minimizes snags. I was a partner in a commercial locksmith firm that had to deal with clients complaining about the cost of leversets that my staff installed. We always fell back on the national, provincial and municipal Building Codes and Fire Codes that mandated the conversion. It's a good idea for residential use as well; in event of a fire you get through doorways quickly even if you have your arms full of kids. Levers are easier to use and you can always revert to knobs for a pet confinement issue.

I still think Chuck Woollery was a much better host of "Wheel of Fortune" than Pat Sajak...

Game show hosts, politicians, what's the difference?

My dogs have twice locked me out by jumping on the door and turning the deadbolt lock.

Good thing for the key under the potted plant. I can see where a pet could open a door with a latch.

I guess the price off antique door knobs will go up.

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I guess the price off antique door knobs will go up.

I don't think it will get to that point... but there are similar sentiments in other areas, eg: Let the hoarding of 60-watt and 40-watt bulbs begin

(PS: My house has a mix of knobs and Vancouver/ADA compliant levers, but every single one of my lights is an LED. Those things are awesome.)

Agree: 1
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