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Feb 22 2011

What’s wrong with this picture?

Category: Panic HardwareLori @ 5:08 pm Comments (29)

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted one of these “quiz” photos but I want to see if you’ve been paying attention. This pair is at the Hoover Dam…right near the touchpad devices with the carpet modification. So, take a good look and leave a comment telling me what the problem is. I’ll hold the correct answers to give everyone a couple days to think about it.

UPDATE: Lots of you have been paying attention – yay!  These are balanced doors, and although it’s possible that the clear opening width is an issue (the doors are very tall so it’s hard to judge), what I was going for was the use of a crossbar exit device on a balanced door.  I demonstrated the issue to my compañeros…if you push on the end of the device that’s toward the hinge, the door won’t budge.  I covered this requirement a while back so you can check out the code excerpts here. Thanks to everyone who left comments!


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29 Responses to “What’s wrong with this picture?”

  1. Jim McWhorter says:

    It appears by location of the Pivot, the doors open with less than 32″ min ADA clearance.

  2. Jeff Tock says:

    Balanced doors should not use crossbar devices…pushing too close to the hinge may not open the door. Clear opening width is less than required.

  3. Jim says:

    Hi Lori,
    Those are balanced doors. The push bar type hardware is not allowed. It needs to be the push pad type, and the pad can’t be more than half the width of the door.
    Great Website!

  4. Rachel Smith says:

    I think that these look like balanced doors, and as such do not give full width clearance for exiting.

  5. Lindsey says:

    Does the exit sign have to be directly above the door?

  6. Joe Proser says:


    Because these are balanced doors (note the way the back end of the door swings in), crossbar exit devices are not appropriate for this opening. The actuating portion should only be half the door width per building code.

    Also, I wonder what the clear opening width of one leaf is at these doors. Assuming those are 12″ tiles, it is pretty obvious that the clear width would not be 32″.

    The only thing I wonder is, how old are these doors? Did the building codes address either of the items I mention when these doors were installed?

    On another note, is it common to see an exit sign beside an opening when you have tall doors like this?

    • Lori says:

      Thanks for the comment, Joe. You’re right! The crossbar exit device is the problem. I’m not sure what the clear width was…I’m going to have to start carrying a tape measure. People will REALLY be looking at me funny if I go around measuring doors AND taking photos. The building isn’t that old, so I’m guessing that the requirement was in place when it was built, but it’s also in Nevada so I’m not as familiar with the history of codes out there. I would think someone might have addressed it by now given the amount of traffic the doors get, but I guess not.

      – Lori

  7. Michael Rebbec says:

    It’s a Balanced door and the actuating portion of the exit device extends beyond the pivoting point is my guess…

  8. Travis Willis says:

    Is it clear space for egress? The way those doors are pivoting would change how much room you have to exit I would think?

  9. Sam says:

    Is one supposed to be able to push any part of the bar, to open the door? That in this case, pushing the bar at or beyond (i.e. towards the walls) the pivot point wouldn’t open the door?

  10. Ken Adkisson says:

    This appears to be a balanced door. If this type of door uses panic hardware, then NFPA 101 requires that the panic be the touchpad type and limits the length of the touchpad to approximately one half the door width.

  11. Dale Long AHC says:

    balanced door with exit device all the way across the door leaf – but with a glaas door what else are you going to do?

    • Lori says:

      Hi Dale –

      You’re supposed to use touchpad style devices on balanced doors so the panic can extend across the glass but the actuating portion is only half the width of the door. Thanks for the comment!

      – Lori

  12. Thomas Bell says:

    Not ADA approved.

  13. Chuck Park says:

    Less than 32″ clear opening when using only one leaf?


  14. Eyal says:

    Panic Device on Balance Doors must be Push Pad type only and not more

    half width of the Door

  15. Bob Caron says:

    Unless both doors are open, you certainly couldn’t get a wheelchair through there. ADA non-compliance? At least one leaf must comply.

  16. James Caron says:

    I see it is a balance door. And seeing a crossbar exit device I believe is a NO No. I believe this is one of the instances that the crossbar is not allowed to span the entire door, but must still span 3/4 of the door only. Obviosly a good code because if someone pushes that exit bar past the pivot point that door isn’t going to open……by the way…..did they tell you that you can take all the dam pictures you like? (National Lampoon Vegas Vacation moment)

  17. Charles says:

    It is a balanced door

    The hardware should only extend one half the width measured from the latch side

  18. Jess says:

    I think I know what your trying to point out, I see multiple things,

    1. it’s the pivot (they say the doors with this type of pivot (with closer hidden in edge of door or in floor or in header jamb) are called “balanced” I came across lots of these while I was in NYC when the Nintendo World Store opened in Rockefeller center, I don’t know whats soo balanced or easy to open about them, I find them pretty hard to open (maybe it’s the changing angles of the hinge when opening?? or the closer was cranked up a couple sizes too strong)

    2. it’s too narrow (not wide enough for allowing a wheelchair to pass through

    3. the exit sign to right is NOT lit up indicating were the door is, (although I personally when i come across a full glass door I look for patch fittings or floor closers or the presence of a thicker header jamb (for overhead concealed), so I don’t try to open a window thinking its the door.

    4. the exit devices (von duprin?) crossbar devices not having any alarm (possible this doorway is the entry door to the building)

  19. jim white says:

    Balanced door, full width exit device

  20. James Caron says:

    I stand corrected. After looking up the code for balance doors, exit touchpads can only go 1/2 accross the face of the door.

  21. Mojo says:

    What touchpad devices? What carpet modifications? Neither seems to be visible in this photograph.

  22. Scott says:

    The counter balance pivots don’t provide a 32″ clear width and violate ADA law.

  23. Tolga says:

    the guy should have let the lady pass first. (not my best answer)

  24. Charlie Hobbs says:


    Looks like the doors have offset floor closers reducing the clear opening width.


  25. leftcoastpdx says:

    I’m sure you’ve had numerous people tell you by now that balanced doors cannot have exit devices that extend the full width of the door. It took me a few seconds to spot it.

  26. leftcoastpdx says:

    I LOVE the note added to my comment: “Your comment is awaiting moderation” since I pride myself on immoderate behavior and comments. I’ll think about this a little more and try to moderate myself. A little.

  27. Ron Hallead, AHC says:

    Balance doors generally require that the push bar not extend more than two
    thirds across the door due to their hinging mechanism. Pushing on the bar
    too close to the hinge edge will not open the door.

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