Printed from the blog of Lori Greene, AHC/CDC, CCPR, FDAI
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Aug 13 2012

No Special Knowledge or Effort

Here’s a little something to enjoy with your morning coffee.  Most of us are aware of the requirement for egress doors to be able to be unlocked/unlatched without a key, tool, or special knowledge or effort, but sometimes this requirement is overlooked, especially when hardware is retrofitted on an existing door.

The electromagnetic lock in this video (it looks like an ATM vestibule) was apparently installed without the required door-mounted release device or motion sensor and push button combination.  The motion sensor would not be a great application for a small vestibule like this because anyone moving within the vestibule could unintentionally unlock the door and allow someone to enter.  It’s possible that the installer omitted the motion sensor for this reason, and just installed a push button which was not noticed by the man trying to leave the vestibule (I’m just guessing).

I’d say this one took some extra effort.

12 Responses to “No Special Knowledge or Effort”

  1. Brad Keyes says:

    I don’t know where you get these videos, Lori… But they are terrific object lessons.

  2. Lewin Edwards says:

    The egress requirements to which you refer are part of US codes, and not necessarily the foreign country where this video appears to have been shot (see the poster on the RH wall). In some countries, the rules are “save the money at all costs” 🙂

    Having said that I do agree a PIR unlock would not have worked well in this application since one purpose of the locked vestibule here is to keep the occupant “safe” if there is a potential threat outside. It’s usually a crash bar or – in modern times – an RTE button or (here comes the critical part) a floor mat pressure switch OR a capacitive touch-sense crash bar.

    As a matter of fact, there are two Chase banks in Forest Hills NY close to where I used to live that use the capacitive bar method, and they have the sensor on only one side of a pair of double doors. I daresay they have lots of stored security video of me doing almost exactly what this guy in your video does, because I invariably go for the wrong door – I always tend to head for the right-hand door in a double-door configuration, which works fine for getting INTO the vestibule, but when I’m trying to get OUT, I’m pushing and pushing before I remember that I need to go left to exit 🙂

    I’m also reminded of this cartoon:

    • Lori says:

      You’re absolutely right – many foreign countries have different codes, or no enforceable codes. But as the tragedies impacted by improper egress or fire protection continue to occur, my hope is that we will see some changes. I am working with many of our consultants in other countries so that they can recommend applications that are safe and will help protect building occupants, even if the code requirements don’t technically apply. We have to find the balance between life safety and security.

      I’m going to look for some video footage of you for my next post. 😉

  3. Cda says:

    That is why I never liked the allowance of a push button.

    • Lori says:

      The push button is just one of the requirements for Access-Controlled Egress Doors – it is not meant to be used on its own, without the motion sensor, and fire alarm/power failure release. I have had plenty of people argue that it’s ok to use just a push button because the door is only locked “after hours.” In my opinion, the same rules apply at all times.

  4. Tony says:

    That stupid “button is ok” thing has been and still is illegal in NYC. Yet i go into “re-habbed” apt bldgs and still see them! It amazes me. Only “some” get violations. The “unsureness” of what is and what isnt in nyc continues.

  5. thecommish says:

    If there is a handle on the door and the closure is on that side of the door, maybe if he pulled the door to him it wold have opened?

    • Lori says:

      From looking at it when he was hitting it, I think it was an outswinging door. I’m surprised the mag-lock stayed locked while the door deflected as much as it did.

  6. thecommish says:

    well maybe, the IT guy who posted this might want to talk to the access guy and whoever specked the glass

  7. James Talmage says:

    Can’t believe how quickly he resorted to kicking the glass out!

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