Remember this door from my trip to the science museum last week?  I asked what was wrong with it and several of you had good ideas.

This area of the cafeteria was closed and the doors were secure, so there are some things we don’t know.  We don’t know for sure if the doors are fire-rated, although I didn’t see evidence of mechanical dogging.  If they are fire doors:

  • The armor plates are a problem unless they are labeled, because they are more than 16″ above the bottom of the door.
  • The vertical rod device is missing the bottom rod and latch, so the doors would need an auxiliary fire pin installed on the edge.  This pin projects into the other door edge if there is a fire, and holds the doors in alignment.  We don’t know if there is a pin installed because it wouldn’t be visible in this view.  Plus, this application is only approved when there are two vertical rod devices.
  • The other door has no visible rods, so it could be a) a mortise exit device, b) a surface vertical rod device whose rods have been removed, c) a concealed vertical rod device, or d) a rim device with a surface-mounted strike.  If it’s “d”, the doors would need a coordinator to function properly, and the surface-mounted strike is not allowed on a fire-rated opening.  It’s highly unlikely that it is “c”, because it would be unusual to have two different types of vertical rod devices on the same door.  It’s possible that it’s “b”, and if the rods and latches have been removed, that’s obviously a problem for a fire door (I don’t see any old screw holes).  If it’s “a”, then a coordinator is required and there isn’t one installed.  For what it’s worth, I think it’s “d”.

What I noticed had nothing to do with a possible fire rating.  The operational description of this door is that staff members present an ID badge to the reader on the right side of the doors, and then walk through the door leaf on the left.  That door is equipped with a delayed egress mag-lock.  If someone pushes on the door without presenting their badge, an alarm will sound, and after 15 seconds the door will unlock to allow egress.  Upon fire alarm, the delayed egress lock unlocks immediately (no 15-second delay).  I see a motion sensor above the door but I’m guessing it is related to the detection system and not part of the access control system.

The first issue with this delayed egress application are that delayed egress locks are not allowed on doors serving Assembly occupancies per the International Building Code, which our Massachusetts code is based on.  For any of you who are NFPA 101 users, the Life Safety Code does allow the use of delayed egress locks on doors serving Assembly occupancies, as long as it is not the main entrance.  The other code problem is that the doors lack the proper signage for delayed egress locks.  The sign needs to read “Push until alarm sounds.  Door can be opened in 15 seconds.”  These doors have signage, but it does not include the proper language.

And in the category of “Things that Make You Go Hmmm,” what’s to prevent someone from pushing on the door without the delayed egress lock?  What’s the point of having delayed egress on one door, and free egress or maybe just an alarm, on the other?  Any theories??

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