Through its courses, qualifications and continuing professional development, the GAI has established an internationally recognised benchmark for ironmongery expertise and knowledge.  

The GAI education programme has been developed over 50 years, and is the only programme in the world that leads to qualifications in architectural ironmongery to British and European standards. 

The GAI programme provides those working in the architectural ironmongery profession all of the tools required to specify and schedule architectural ironmongery and access control for any project with complete confidence. 

Our courses and qualifications are suitable for a wide range of professionals working in, and with, the architectural ironmongery sector, including: 

  • Architectural ironmongers 
  • Locksmiths 
  • Architectural technicians 
  • Wholesalers 
  • Manufacturers 
  • Builders’ merchants 

GAI Qualifications:


FOUNDATION IN HARDWARE – an introductory online qualification for anyone beginning their career in, or working alongside, the architectural ironmongery sector. 

CERTIFICATE IN ARCHITECTURAL HARDWARE (CiAH) – a two-stage self-led online course providing a thorough understanding of products, standards and industry best practice. 

THE GAI DIPLOMA IN SCHEDULING (DipGAI) – the qualification for professionals involved in architectural ironmongery scheduling, estimating and technical support.

GAI DIPLOMA IN DOOR SYSTEMS (DipDS)new for 2022/23, educating on all aspects of the architectural ironmongery industry with emphasis on the door.

GAI DIPLOMA IN ELECTRIC HARDWARE AND ACCESS CONTROL (DipAC)new for 2022/23, designed to educate on all aspects of the access control market and its impact on the architectural ironmongery industry.

GAI CERTIFICATE IN STANDARDS AND REGULATIONS (CERTSRA)new for 2022/23, an ongoing training programme to educate on all aspects of the standards relevant to the architectural ironmongery industry.

The CPD Journey:


On completing a Stage 3 GAI qualification (diploma or certificate), the holder is eligible to take part in our continuing professional qualification (CPD) programme, working towards and maintaining certified or registered status.

REGISTERED ARCHITECTURAL IRONMONGER (RegAI) – a fully qualified architectural ironmongery professional, committed to maintaining the highest and most current skills and knowledge of legislation, industry standards and products.

NEW REGISTERED OR CERTIFIED STATUS - following the introduction of two new diplomas and a new Stage 3 certificate, successful candidates will be able to work towards and maintain status as: Registered Door Systems (RegDS); Registered Electric Hardware & Access Control (RegAC); or Certificated Standards and Regulations Advisor (CertSRA).

The GAI Challenge Exam

Challenge exam allows former candidates to complete their qualification without having to start again from the beginning of the education programme.  

The GAI Challenge Exam is designed for those who have taken a break of three years or more during their studies of a Stage 3 GAI diploma or the Certificate in Architectural Hardware (Stage 1 or 2) courses 

It consists of a short test covering all areas of the last stage of learning that they have passed. Online invigilation can be arranged for international students who would like to take the exam.  

Once the GAI Challenge Exam has been passed, candidates can then progress to the next stage of the education programme without having to start at Stage 1 again. See below for Challenge Exam dates for the year ahead, and email [email protected] for more information or to register your interest. 

Stage 3 Studies - Bridging Courses

Learners who complete or have completed the Certificate in Architectural Hardware from Summer 2021 onwards are able to enrol directly on to any of the GAI's Stage 3 courses (diploma or certificate).

Learners who completed the Certificate in Architectural Hardware or GAI Diploma before this date, and who wish to enrol for one of the new Stage 3 courses introduced in 2022 (i.e. the diplomas in Electric Hardware and Access Control, and in Door Systems; or the new Certificate in Standards and Regulations), must complete a bridging course.  

The bridging course can be completed in advance of, or concurrently with, the Stage 3 course. Due to the amount of time required for concurrent study, learners selecting this option may choose to take their final examination on with the traditional June exam day or one of the retake dates in September or October.

Details of bridging course requirement and costs can be found in the Education Prospectus, available for download on this page. For further details, including to confirm whether a bridging course is required in any individual case, please contact [email protected] 

Course Progression

01 Introductory

The Foundation in Hardware teaches the basics of architectural ironmongery, access control, and standards. A flexible course completed within a six-month period, ideal as an induction tool or for anyone starting in the industry.

02 Building Skills

The Certificate in Architectural Hardware (CiAH) is a two-stage self-led online course which can be taken across 1 or 2 years. It provides a logical next step for those completing the Foundation qualification, but is equally suited as a starting point for those in the industry looking to develop their career. Allows the learner to make informed decisions when working with particular products and materials, as well as have a broad understanding of relevant best practices and industry standards.

03 Raising the Standard

The GAI’s Stage 3 diploma and certificate qualifications are the most widely recognised in the industry, building expertise and a deeper knowledge across all aspects of the architectural ironmongery industry: Scheduling; Door Systems; Electric Hardware & Access Control; and Standards & Regulations. Completion of CiAH or DipGAI* is a requirement of entry into all Stage 3 courses. Each course is typically completed over a one-year period**, with learners able to tackle multiple courses consecutively or concurrently (by individual arrangement).

04 Professional Competence

The GAI’s CPD programme enables those who have attained a Stage 3 GAI qualification to establish and maintain their Registered or Certified professional status – RegAI, RegAC, RegDS or CertSRA. This represents the highest possible standard, indicating a professional who is fully up-to-date with the latest industry standards, regulation, legislation, and best practice.

*Learners completing CiaH or DipGAI before Summer 2022 are required to complete a bridging course in order to access the three new Stage 3 qualifications – DipAC, DipDS and CertSRA. The bridging course can be completed in advance of, or concurrently with, the Stage 3 course.
**The Certificate in Standards and Regulations (CertSRA) must also be renewed annually through a GAI CPD programme and online examination.

    Key Dates 

10 August 2022
GAI Challenge exam
10 August 2022
Education Taster Session (AM/PM)
26 August 2022
Results day for Certificate in Architectural Hardware (Stage 1 & 2)
26 August 2022
Results day for GAI Diploma (Stage 3)
01 September 2022
2022/23 Enrolment Opens for Certificate in Architectural Hardware (Stage 1 & 2) and Stage 3 Diplomas & Certificate
22 September 2022
Certificate in Architectural Hardware (Stage 1 & 2) exam retake
13 October 2022
Certificate in Architectural Hardware (Stage 1 & 2) exam retake
13 December 2022
GAI Challenge exam
16 December 2022
2022/23 Enrolment Closes for Certificate in Architectural Hardware (Stage 1 & 2) and Stage 3 GAI Diplomas & Certificate
20-22 February 2023
GAI Diploma (Stage 3) classroom training course in Wolverhampton
13-15 March 2023
GAI Diploma (Stage 3) classroom training course in Dubai
27-29 March 2023
GAI Diploma (Stage 3) classroom training course in London
30 April 2023
Block assessments deadline for Certificate in Architectural Hardware (Stage 1 & 2) and Stage 3 GAI Diplomas & Certificate
01-31 May 2023
Stage 1 & 2 Mock Examinations
15 June 2023
Examination Day for Certificate in Architectural Hardware (Stage 1 & 2) and Stage 3 Diplomas & Certificate
25 August 2023
Result day

Education Downloads 

The GAI Education Prospectus and associated documents are available to download here, for further background and detailed information relating to the GAI education and learning programmes.