Vancouver bans doorknobs

In the name of so-called universal design — a much-promoted theory that disabled-accessibility features should be designed into all structures, public or private, from the start — Vancouver is adopting building code changes that prohibit use of doorknobs in favor of levers and other mechanisms that are more easily used by the handicapped and elderly. While the ban will apply only to new construction, the city has already deferred to the new thinking by replacing the ornate doorknobs in its Art Deco-era City Hall. Building experts see doorknob bans in private housing construction as likely to spread in the years ahead. [Vancouver Sun] Perennial Overlawyered bete noire Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) has in recent Congresses introduced something called the Inclusive Home Design Act which would mandate some accessibility features in all federally assisted newly constructed housing units.

More: “Vancouver Banned Doorknobs. Good,” writes Colin Lecher at Popular Science. Because the less diversity and private choice and historical continuity, the better.


  • She should call it the Intrusive Home Design Act for accuracy.

  • I replaced all my doorknobs with doggy doors. Amputee or not, everyone has equal access.

  • […] Vancouver bans doorknobs ( […]

  • Sounds like Vancouver is now defenseless against a raptor invasion.

  • I saw an opportunity to be an inventor & entrepreneur from this. I went to a hardware store to buy so items to fashion a simple conversion kit so that a lever could be attached to an existing doorknob. When I smugly explained my clever idea to the owner, he took me to where he had several versions of such conversion kits on sale.
    This ordinance is but another example of government action to puff an ego although the free market has already solved any problem.

  • When I was stationed in Germany in the late 1970s, levers were standard on German doors. My fellow GIs sometimes jokingly referred to the USA as “the land of round doorknobs.”

    Levers are easier to operate, but knobs have an advantage that you can hang things from them, that would slide and fall off levers.
    It is also easier to get poked uncomfortably by a lever.