I spent 10 hours yesterday attending seminars (or waiting for the next one to start) at Build Boston, the largest regional convention and trade show for the design and construction industry. There were over 200 workshops and 250 exhibitors, and I saw lots of architect and specifier friends, not to mention enough door and hardware applications to get me through the next week of blog posts.
The door at right is not a fire-rated door, but it’s an unusual application. I saw at least 10 similar pairs and there may have been more. They were on many of the meeting rooms, including several with an occupant load of more than 100 people.
The pair had a surface vertical rod device (LBR) on one leaf and a mortise lockset on the other, with closers, a coordinator, and a carry bar. I watched several people exit through this pair during one of the workshops, and each one had difficulty.
Each person used the door with the exit device, which also opened the door with the mortise lock slightly. The carry bar pushed the door with the mortise lock open far enough for the latch to clear and the coordinator to engage, but the doors were binding and the operation was confusing.
The coordinator held the door with the mortise lock open a few degrees so that the door with the panic device would close first. Coordinators can be very problematic, and since everyone was using the door with the panic device, the coordinator was functioning each time.
In my opinion, this pair does not meet the intent of the codes that require panic hardware on doors serving an assembly or educational occupancy with over 100 people (or over 50 depending on the code). I’ve never seen such widespread use of this application on such a busy, high-profile facility.
What do you think?