Do you ever look at a door opening or a particular hardware installation and ask yourself, “Why’d they do that??”  I know you have!  I’ve decided to create a new category of posts, where we can puzzle these out together.

This pair is in the hotel which is my home-away-from-home this week.  I noticed the mag-lock on the unequal leaf right away.  As you can see, there is no motion sensor or push button to release the mag-lock.  What you can not see is that the panic hardware on the active leaf doesn’t release the mag-lock either.  The panic is an electric latch retraction device, and there are no flush bolts on the inactive leaf.  I’ve included a photo of the door loop / door cord because architects always ask me what they look like.

So…why’d they do that?  Why a mag-lock?

UPDATE:  For those of you who asked for more information (you’re asking all the right questions, by the way), here are some answers.  Sorry I didn’t take the exterior picture last night, but it was dark.

These doors are one of several pairs serving the guest room wing of the 2-story hotel.  They do not serve the Assembly spaces (restaurant/bar/function rooms).  On the exterior there is a pull handle on the active leaf, and nothing on the inactive.  There is a card reader which reads the guest room cards and retracts the latch of the panic device.  The mag-lock does not release when you insert your card.

I believe the fasteners at the top of the active leaf are for the concealed vertical rod panic hardware.  It is not a fire-rated door – it goes to the exterior.  The building is sprinklered.  There at least 3 of these pairs serving a wing of about 60 rooms counting both floors.  There is also a means of egress through the hotel lobby.

Here’s my take on it.  The mag-lock is acting as the world’s most expensive flush bolt.  There is nothing to release the mag-lock, except maybe the fire alarm.  Using the mag-lock to provide full egress width upon fire alarm isn’t code-compliant, because if the full width of the opening is required for egress upon fire alarm, it is also required when there isn’t a fire alarm.  The active leaf can accommodate 160 occupants, and the inactive leaf is not required for egress.  I can’t think of any good reason to use a mag-lock in this application.  

More photos:


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