Printed from the blog of Lori Greene, AHC/CDC, CCPR, FDAI
Email:, Blog: or

Apr 10 2012

WWYD: Access Control on Sliding Doors

Category: Electrified Hardware,WWYD?Lori @ 3:11 pm Comments (32)

Jon Bossie of Surveillance Specialties sent me the photos below to see if any of my readers had ideas about how to add access control to these sliding doors.  He and I both have some thoughts but maybe there’s something we haven’t considered.  The doors are mounted on the outside face of the wall, each serving an individual office.  When the door is closed, it overlaps the aluminum frame face.  There is currently no method of securing the doors.  WWYD?

I have lots of other photos so if there’s a detail you want to see, just ask.  Jon can answer any questions you have, so just leave them in the comments.  Let the discussion begin!


UPDATE:  After lots of discussion, here is the proposed solution.  Feel free to comment if you have any feedback for Jon before he goes forward with it.  If any of you have a challenging situation you’d like help with, just send me some good quality photos or sketches, and a summary of what you’re trying to do.  Thank you to everyone who shared their input on this one!

32 Responses to “WWYD: Access Control on Sliding Doors”

  1. Justin Ritter says:

    I can only come up with the idea of light duty mag locks. I would prefer to use a concealed/recessed magnet, but the frames are already installed, so prepping them would be very expensive. You could use a surface mag lock on the “strike” jamb, mounted so the magnet faces the corridor, with the magnet’s strike plate on the inside face of the door. You would mount a card reader somewhere on the corridor side of the opening (on the wall or in the jamb), and have a button (or two) on the inside of the room. I would consider a maintained switch (push button, on/off switch or keyswitch) for locking/unlocking and a secondary momentary button for releasing in an emergency.

    • Jon says:

      Justin–the customer is very concerned about the overall appearance of whatever is installed. I was thinking about using a Schlage GF3000 shearlock mag-surface mounted in the top right corner of the door. The maglock would install to the aluminum header and the surface mounted armature could go on the door. It would slide under the mag to lock up.

      The issue that this creates is the door stop on the track has to be adjusted to stop the door before the armature hits the wall which would leave about 10″ of the door left in the opening. I was hoping someone might be able to come up with a concealed solution.

  2. Travis Willis says:

    Does it have to be access control? Rockwood now makes a locking pull for these types of applications. If it needs electrified to secure it, I would think a Mag lock up at the head or top of the jamb mounted vertically (on strike side). The plate on the door would project some so the stops would need adjusted.

  3. Jimmy Parker says:

    Maybe the building is sprinklered and the corridor is exempt from separation as a 1-hour exit access corridor with 20 minute doors, and the doors do not have to latch. These doors violate egress though as doors are required to be hinged (or break-away) and to release with pressure in the direction of egress. Some designer thought the idea of sliding doors to be novel without a full understanding of the release of doors in the path of egress.

    • Jon says:

      Your comment regarding the egress is interesting to consider. These are all small offices-approx. 10’x 10′. I would defer to Lori to address the egress issue here. Its new construction that has just completed in downtown Boston.

    • Lori says:

      Sliding doors are acceptable in certain occupancies with small occupant loads. I will follow up with another post regarding the code compliance of sliding doors.

    • Travis Willis says:

      Its probably classed as a hallway not a corridor and that is why its allowed. I have seen it done in the NW numerous times. We are all honest tree huggers though and nobody ever wanted to lock them…I’m wondering though maybe the new Dorma Magneo system would be the answer?

    • Jon says:

      The building is fully sprinkled….

  4. Daniel Ferry, AHC says:

    I have already done this in 2 different applications.
    I should just patent it.
    Used 4 items from Securitron, SAM, SMLS, SP-1 & Power Supply.
    Card readers by others to work with existing card reader system.
    (SMLS) surface mount magnet with this bracket onto face of frame. Mortise the wood door edge for magnet strike to align. Used touch sense plate on inside and apply pull handles as desired. If new installations, you can raise back end of track 1/2″ to 1″ above level to aid in closing of door. Works great.

    • Jon says:

      Can you use the maglock in a vertical installation?? Can the GF3000 be used in a vertical installation?

  5. Tom Hebert, AHC says:

    two possible solutions come to mind:

    1. Yale safety rim deadlock 197 X 197F? – ugly and the door wouldn’t open the all the way.
    2. Adams-Rite MS1861 bottom rail deadlock (can be modified in a job shop to extend backset and bolt length)

  6. Jon says:

    Dan–thanks for the suggestion!! I confirmed you can use that maglock in a vertical position. I have to say I don’t like the idea of putting it on the leading edge of the door as it will be exposed to the outside office area visually. Tell me what you think of this:

    The maglock will get mounted vertically in the frame. The maglock bracket will get mounted vertically in the backside of the door so when the door is closed it lines up with the maglock in the frame and locks.
    We would install them both in the frame portion that is typically where the hinges would normally go (non-leading edge). That would means that they would never be seen when the door is closed or opened. The door would continue to function and appear exactly the way it is now.

    • Jon says:

      Anyone familiar with the construction of this type of aluminum framing?? It appears to have a snap on cap and I am concerned about what we might run into when installing the maglock in the frame face…….

  7. Jack Ostergaard says:

    Hate to throw water on this but how hard is it to simply lift the door off the track? As we all know locks just keep honest people honest. Any one who is determined to get in will break a window or lift off the door. Other that that the small mag locks looks like a great idea if credentials are needed and the bottom rail deadlock if a mechanical key will suffice.

    • Jon says:

      Good thought Jack….the tracks have the rollers on top and they have underside track guides that prevent you from lifting it up

  8. Jerry Richmond, AHC/CDC says:

    I had a similar situation in a local hospital for emergency treatment rooms. The hospital administration wanted to keep frantic “loved ones” from barging into the treatment rooms, but this thought came up well into the job. Our situation consisted of wood doors hanging outside of hollow metal side-lite frames. The frames were already installed when this came up, so I recommended to the architect to build out a wall portion at each “strike” side to allow concealed wiring and concealed installation of an electro-magnetic shearlock. This avoided the potential hazard of angle brackets and gave us substantial strength. The architect revised the plan drawings and made special “sketches” as needed for the contractor and we made a lay-out with the C/L of the lock and armature at 40″ AFF. We also used floor stops at the opposite end of the door in addition to the track-mounted stops (which are only as good as the little set screws) to aid in stopping the door travel when opening. The contractor did a great job of building strong wing walls to accept the electro-magnetic shearlocks and all went well. The doors are “locked” at all times and opened from the inside (there is a second entry to these rooms) by staff using a wall mounted push button to momentarily disengage the lock so they can call in the next patient. The electro-magnetic shearlocks are tied into the building’s fire alarm system and release upon fire alarm activation.
    In your case, for offices, a card reader would be needed in the corridor for entry and a motion sensor (and possibly a push button) would be needed in the office for exiting. Since you have finished clear aluminum frames, adding an aluminum tube, securely anchored to the floor and through the drop ceiling to support trusses, would be the answer. Again, this gives a clean finished look, allows mortised application and wiring concealment and affords strength. Several door units can be powered by a single power supply (with fire alarm contacts) to save on that expense.

    • Jon says:

      Unfortunately the construction portion of this project is over so adding on any additional framing or wall extension is probably out of the question. There are alos a number of these doors in the same area that if we were to add something to one they will want them all done to match.

      What do you think about this idea:
      The maglock will get mounted vertically in the frame. The maglock bracket will get mounted vertically in the backside of the door so when the door is closed it lines up with the maglock in the frame and locks.
      We would install them both in the frame portion that is typically where the hinges would normally go (non-leading edge). That would means that they would never be seen when the door is closed or opened. The door would continue to function and appear exactly the way it is now

  9. Darren Patton says:

    I think everyone has it figured out. this really a light duty application so I would not be worried about the head, proper installation of Riv-Nuts will hold it. In order to get the door to fully open I might try mortising the plate. Good Luck, I think we would all like to see pictures when your done.

    • Jon says:

      Thanks Darren…I will get Lori some pictures to post once it is completed. I am still interested in hearing what she finds out regarding the code aroung barn style doors.

  10. Jerry Richmond, AHC/CDC says:

    This is in response to your 6:37PM comment.
    I would need to see a sketch (or sketches) as to how you are achieving using the maglock so that it would never be seen when the door is closed or opened.
    Night all!

  11. tony santo says:


  12. Jim White, AOC says:

    Jon, I think your solution in 8a is right on target. By mounting the mag lock in the (hinge) jamb it will be concealed by the door in any position and mortising the armature into the inside face of the door will keep it hidden also regardless of door position. Most of the smaller mag locks, usually used for gates, are typically mounted vertically. Just be sure to tie into the fire alarm so the office occupant cannot be trapped inside.

  13. Khozema Kazi, AHC/FDAI says:

    Install Locknetics 405 powerbolt at bottom face of hinge jamb and it’s strike on corresponding location at inside face of door leaf. This will have lesser exposed view than a maglock for better aesthetics.

  14. Khozema Kazi, AHC/FDAI says:

    Install Locknetics Powerbolt 405 at bottom face of hinge jamb and its strike on corresponding location at inside face of door leaf. This hardware will have lesser exposed view than a maglock, for better aesthetics.

    • Jon says:

      Yea I thought about using a bolt but I am not sure about the code implications of that here.

      Lori can a power bolt be used from a Life Safety point of view?? Would it meet code?

      • Lori says:

        In my opinion, the code requirements for a power bolt would be the Access-Controlled Egress Doors section, the same as for a mag-lock. So technically for either application you’d need the sensor, push button with 30-second unlock, and release on fire alarm and power failure. I don’t usually use power bolts because of the problem with getting them to release under side-load, but in this application I would be comfortable using them.

  15. Jon says:

    I will get a Lori drawing to post for your consideration. Any feedback is welcomed!

  16. Dino Dusi says:

    Mount a SDC 180/280 Series Surface mounted Bolt Lock (a Power bolt) up in corner inside frame, Strike mounted on door. Access control to match whatever they have in place.
    I recognize the “barn door hardware” as Real Carriage Door Swiss Rod Stainless Steel Hardware, Beautiful stuff, for an office that is designed to look like a Barn/Stable.

  17. Jon says:

    I sent Lori a drawing showing a solution we think will work best for this door. It is a small shearlock installed vertically in the frame with the armature housing mortised into the door. If the customer decides to do this I will send Lori some pictures of the job. Thanks for all your thoughts and comments. This is why I love this website!!

Leave a Reply