Last week I spent a couple of days in North Conway, New Hampshire, and I came back with some souvenir photos of the Doors Gone Wrong that were scattered around town. North Conway is a beautiful vacation destination and a fun place to visit, but I can find bad hardware in the most picturesque of locales. I was there with my friend who is an architect, so while she was admiring the beautiful Victorian train station and the quaint shops and inns, I was all, “STOP THE CAR I SEE UGLY HARDWARE!!”
And last but not least, this sign was on the door in our hotel room that led to our second-floor balcony. It seems very unlikely that anyone would “exit this way” when the only way to exit would be to jump over the railing or climb under the divider to our neighbor’s balcony (and then either jump over their railing or enter through their unlocked door). We didn’t visit our neighbor or jump off the balcony so our room remained secure.
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What was on the balcony door, a patio function A30D or similar? You say that the neighbor’s door would be unlocked. They’re not passage sets, are they?
No, they weren’t passage sets…just a residential entrance function – key on exterior, push button on interior plus separate deadbolt. We would only have been able to enter through our neighbor’s door IF it was unlocked.
I found this post searching for balcony doors. I have a hard time finding a definitive answer to the question of locking balcony doors. Is it ok to use w a patio function lock on a balcony? What about a passage set with a separate deadbolt? Either would still allow the possibility of someone from the inside locking a person on the balcony out there, but it would have to be pretty deliberate. Is that allowed by code (IBC) or is that something that also varies by jurisdiction? I often get pushback on using passage sets, and I think for a good reason. Even though it is pretty unlikely of someone else getting on a 2nd floor, or especially a 6th floor balcony, I would prefer the peace of mind of being able to lock the door.
Hi Todd –
There isn’t a definitive answer in the codes. If you look at a balcony like a room and need to provide free egress from that room, that would require a passage set, but that’s not feasible for many balconies because of security. There is nothing specific in the codes that would allow you to lock the doors, but I do lock them if I need to. There are some good examples here: http://idighardware.com/2013/10/music-city-center/.
I would use a lock that is least likely to get someone locked out on the balcony…a double-cylinder deadbolt if it is a commercial/institutional building, or a thumburn deadbolt if it is residential. If I was writing the spec or the hardware schedule, I would put a note in the hardware set that says something like, “Verify that locking the balcony door is acceptable to the Authority Having Jurisdiction. Door will not lock automatically, and must be locked using a key (or thumbturn).”
Makes sense. Thanks!