If you went to hardware school, then you were taught (like me) that egress doors have to be visible and have an obvious method of operation, right? Well, every so often the question comes up regarding visibility of panic hardware, usually because someone wants to match the finish of a Von Duprin Inpact device to the door. Here are a couple of examples from one of my recent museum projects:
The question recently came up again and when I talked to the architect about it I offered to post the rendering on the Building Codes Forum and ask for feedback from some code officials. If you haven’t visited the Building Codes Forum, you should! It’s a great source of information and despite the rumors, not all code officials are ornery. 🙂
An interesting discussion ensued, with opinions on both sides regarding the question of how visible the panic hardware needs to be (read the discussion here). The bottom line is that there is no requirement in the IBC for the panic hardware to be a contrasting color, although I have heard that one of the European or Australian codes has this requirement. This means that the ultimate decision will be up the AHJ, so it’s a bit risky.
Here are a couple of examples of doors that in my opinion are unacceptable. The first photo is from Zeke Wolfskehl, and I’m not sure where I got the second one. Have you seen any applications like this? Send in a photo so we can all have a look!