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What is an Architectural Hardware Consultant (AHC)?
Learn about Architectural Hardware Consultants and how they help develop hardware specifications and hardware schedules. This article introduces other DHI credentials as well.

What is an Architectural Hardware Consultant (AHC)?

Building Codes, Consulting

Architectural Hardware Consultants are experts in mechanical and electronic door hardware who write hardware schedules and specifications for non-residential construction projects.

They know the important fire, life safety, accessibility and building codes that must be considered when a building’s hardware is specified.

The AHC designation is issued by the Door and Hardware Institute, the leading group for advocacy and education for door openings safety and security in Canada and the US.

The Architectural Hardware Consultant designation, like other professional designations, is proof of a consultant’s skill set.  It assures architects and building developers that a consultant is an expert in  mechanical and electronic hardware who knows the codes and standards associated with architectural door openings.

There are people in the industry who call themselves ‘hardware consultants’ or provide ‘hardware consulting services’ but are not certified as AHCs. 

When engaging a consultant, asking about their credentials will help you determine whether they are qualified to work on your project.

An AHC’s Role 

Hardware is complicated.  There are thousands of products and complex building code conditions that affect the door and hardware scope. AHCs are trained to recognize requirements for door openings, then specify and detail the necessary products.

When architects set out to design buildings, they rely on hardware consultants to write or edit their opening specifications and develop hardware schedules.  This ensures the building’s door openings will be functional, code compliant and secure. 

AHCs can also assist with other aspects of the project, like budgeting, reviewing shop drawings or proposed alternate products and commissioning after products are installed.

Other DHI Credentials 

The Door and Hardware Institute (DHI) is the leading voice for door professionals in the non-residential construction industry.  Their certification programs and credentials are recognized across the industry and throughout the architecture and design communities.

Other certifications are:

  • Certified Door Consultant (CDC) – specializing in wood, hollow metal and aluminum doors and frames
  • Electrified Hardware Consultant (EHC) – specializing in electrified hardware and electronic access control systems
  • Architectural Opening Consultant (AOC) – combines the AHC, CDC and EHC designations


These are now known as Legacy Certifications.  The DHI revised their designations in 2017 to reflect changes in the industry. The newer designations are just as honorable and will become more common as professionals cycle through the new education programs. You can read more about the legacy designations and new credentials here.


Anyone can call themselves a hardware consultant, but the AHC designation verifies advanced knowledge of door opening products and the associated building codes.

When it comes to life safety, fire codes, security, accessibility and the many other considerations that surround the door and hardware scope, be certain that your consultant is up to the task by confirming they hold an appropriate credential.

Total Opening Consultants has two Architectural Hardware Consultants on staff – Steve McRae and Gody Famy.  Visit our Team page to read thier bios.

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