Printed from the blog of Lori Greene, AHC/CDC, CCPR, FDAI
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Apr 24 2015

FF: Classroom Latch Preventer

These Fixed-it Friday photos depict one school’s method for providing classroom security. The outside lever is kept locked at all times, so closing the door is all that’s required to secure the classroom during an emergency.  But having a classroom door locked all the time can be inconvenient – someone has to open the door each time a student or staff member wants to enter.

This classroom door has a small surface bolt to keep the door open slightly to prevent it from latching.  The adhesive silencer/bumper protects the door.  It’s pretty ingenious, inexpensive, easy to operate, and not too bad looking.  However, if these are fire doors, this creative “solution” is not code-compliant unless the local code includes a modification that would allow it.  Fire doors must close and latch in order to deter the spread of smoke and flames.  A mechanism preventing a fire door from latching is not allowed by the model codes, unless the door will automatically latch upon actuation of the fire alarm.

Classroom Latch Preventer 2

a Classroom Latch Preventer

Thank you to Bob Larson of Builders Hardware for these photos!

8 Responses to “FF: Classroom Latch Preventer”

  1. MJOHN says:

    There is a gap between tried and tested door hardware, and someone’s great idea. And the gap may look innocuous on its face, but for the occasion that the full functionality of the door hardware is required. And when that functionality (latching in this case) is needed, lives are at stake in the gap. “How many lives are worth the savings found in this brilliant, but inadequate fix?” should be the question asked to the installer of this cost saving device.

  2. Jerry Rice says:

    Plus, if a rated opening, the bolt would not be allowed to be mounted to the frame unless tested, listed and approved.

  3. Jim Elder says:

    This seems to be a logical solution (not withstanding the door and side lites of course) for a tight budget as long as it is clear that there is no rating of the door involved.

    What percentage of classroom doors are in fact carry a fire rating. I would bet that many of the rated doors are propped in some way that renders them illegal. How many teachers know not to prop a rated door??

    • Lori says:

      I don’t know what percentage of doors are rated but they are common on older schools. I would guess that most teachers don’t know that they shouldn’t prop a fire door open.

      – Lori

  4. Jim Elder says:

    One other thing that most all the recommended strategies fail to point out is that a storeroom function lock (when closed) could change the dynamics of the class, subjecting the class to many disruptions when someone has to open the door for a class member. It also draws the attention of the entire class to the “excused” classmate when he/she returns.

    • Lori says:

      I agree. With all of the disruptions I hear about from my 7th-grader (without locked doors), I don’t know how they learn anything.

      – Lori

  5. Clint says:

    As pointed out this “fix” violates the integrity of the rated door. It also means that the security meant to keep children and teachers safe from a school intruder is also negated. This is not a fix but a complete bypass of the locking system. You can save the 89 cents on the latch and just remove the door locks and get the same effect.

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