Printed from the blog of Lori Greene, AHC/CDC, CCPR, FDAI
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Sep 16 2016

FF: Access Control Gone Wrong

Kenton Straughn of Walsh Door & Hardware / Electronic Security posted this Fixed-it Friday photo on LinkedIn, and gave me permission to share it here (this is not the work of the Walsh technicians!)…


This is the perfect image to reinforce why it’s so important to coordinate the electrified hardware / access control in advance.  I have to admit – I learned this lesson the hard way, when I specified electric latch retraction hardware on a university project and was not told that the system would not be “powered up” for several months.  I don’t usually specify mechanical dogging on electric latch retraction panic hardware, because the mechanical dogging can override the access control system and leave the opening vulnerable.  But without mechanical dogging, the university didn’t have any way to leave the doors unlocked to allow access to the building.  Oops.

I’m guessing that’s not what happened with the installation pictured in this photo, but it brought back memories of the phone call from the facility manager on my university project.  :\

Any tips for proper coordination of these products?  Share them in the reply box!

4 Responses to “FF: Access Control Gone Wrong”

  1. David Scott Kenyon says:

    It is amazing what you can do with duct tape – solves a plethora of problems – not always greet though! Perhaps with some more time they could have made it a neater application ! Where is the wiring harness for the exit device to plug into – OopS ?! Based on the screws below the panic device on the right stile and the holes on the hinge stile this door was meant to receive some type of push pull hardware or perhaps a Blum type exit device. Why the change occurred and why an electrified exit device was supplied is a mystery.

  2. Rich says:

    That is an old device on the above door. They haven’t made that tail end bracket for a while. Also interesting to see existing holes for a mount at a different height. We have done quite a few building upgrade projects involving Electronic Access. We always install the new hardware (exit devices, wires, loops, hinges) etc in advance, but always leave the last item out until the last minute to avoid the above scenario. If we had installed a new Von duprin 99 on the above door, we would have waited to install the EL rail until everyone else was ready to go. We do have the luxury of having the needed parts to do it this way. We stock VD99 and EL rails in house. Just a side note, we have switched over to the QEL rails almost exclusively. They require less power (1.5A) thus smaller wire and power supply, hold the bar in when energized decreasing wear and tear, are much quieter in operation. The QEL is also available as a kit to install on your own rail in place of the bar down. You can also get it with a bar down feature as part of the QEL. You can always reverse the cover extrusion and plug the hex key hole.

  3. Jim Elder says:

    Lori, you have hit on one of my favorite topics (but that is just me). First recommendation is to use a consultant who is experienced in this issue (sorry, for the shameless plug). Note also, per CSI 2016 revision, electrical hardware is firmly in Division 28. Does not mean it cannot still be done in Div 8; but the Committee strongly suggests such hardware be in 28. There are all kinds of good reasons for this, but the main reason is that integrators are almost always the first call for problems post construction. Some may argue that this may not be the most efficient, but I dont agree. Also, who does the owner have the longest relationship with?…. the integrator.

    Lori, your example is a good one. Try it with mag locks. Door unlocking is no problem… You just cannot lock the door.

    Here are a couple of other issues.

    1. If the project is broken into packages or phases, make sure the base security system and at least the perimeter door system are together in the same phase.

    2. Coordinate, Coordinate, Coordinate. I require the hardware submittal to be APPROVED by the integrator. While he may or may not supply the hardware, the signature forces coordination.

    3. Shop drawings should be required showing each hardware items and all the connections involved along with all the conductor colors and the make and model number of the device. In this way, the engineer (or consultant) can match the hardware item to what is shown in the drawing. Wire colors are pretty easy to check and you know right away when there is a problem (notwithstanding the products that have the same color conductors).

    4. Separate preconstruction meeting. If the project is more than a couple of doors, the integrator, contract hardware supplier (CHS), the lock specifier (AHC) , and consultant (or engineer) should have a separate work session. Go over each door and discuss functions and specific hardware items.

    5. In your hardware spec, require the CHS to provide wiring diagrams to the Integrator as part of an early submittal process. This forces both parties to closely review the products long before the the integrator’s shop drawings are produced.

    6. Require on-site inspection of electrical doors by the consultant and the integrator. This is the final chance you have to coordinate before the prduct goes in. Its pretty simple if doors are numbered (as for most jobs). Have the GC keep the electrical doors in the yard separate from the other doors.

    7. Conduct progress inspections. Maybe not every door, but a significant sample. Now any changes get expensive, but at least you have a chance of finding them. Require the integrator to do inspections as well.

    8. Require a manufacturer to conduct an installation inspection. I know Allegion does this, and i suppose most other of the big players also provide site inspection services (presumably at a cost).

    9. Once a door of a specific is installed and working, perform an operational test to make sure the install is per spec. Don’t wait until 300 doors are done to find out they got the wiring wrong.

    10. HIRE A CONSULTANT who is experienced in these matters (another shameless plug). Seriously, few architects or engineers know this stuff well; particularly the marriage of door hardware and electronics. Inevitably, problems will bubble up to the surface. Pay now (during design), or pay later (during installation). Certainly, the former is better than the latter.

    Thats my take…


    The active head assembly looks like is is for a vertical rod function. It’s possible that the original hardware on this door was removed to install this device but they had not established a proper security audit as to its function and how it was going to affect the traffic flow . It’s hard to tell what is on the pull side of this opening but at this point being non operative it really does not matter . I would have just removed the device and waited until a decision was made . As this is a non rated opening I don’t believe there are any codes violated . However it just might be a matter of access control

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