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Mar 31 2014

WWYD? School Entrance Trim

Category: Push/Pull,School Security,WWYD?Lori @ 2:44 pm Comments (20)

Bob Larson of Builders Hardware brought up a good question the other day…what’s the best way to handle the outside trim on the exterior pairs on a school?  We all have our preferences, but given the changing security, access control, and accessibility requirements, this might be a good time to take another look at this common application.  The question could apply to any type of building, but let’s think about this in context of a school to give us some focus – I’d love your insight on this.

Here are some questions to get the responses flowing:

  • If surface-mounted pulls are used, should we specify two pulls, or would one pull make schools safer by preventing someone from securing the two pulls together to delay access or egress?
  • Do some facilities or specifiers prefer lever trim for exterior doors on schools?  Why, or why not?  One lever or two?
  • I know that flush pulls and other vandal-resistant styles have become popular for some districts, but are they easy to use for someone with a disability?
  • For pairs or banks of doors, should only one door have a cylinder, or more than one?
  • For doors that are only used for egress and not for access, should there be a cylinder and/or pull to be used for access by emergency services?

Here are a few examples of Special-Lite FRP pairs, posted with permission from Chris Mayer of Mayer Door (thanks Chris!):

Pair with Flush Pulls

Here’s a closer look at the flush pulls pictured above.

Pair with Levers  Pair with Offset Pulls

Pair with One Pull  Pair with Pulls

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20 Responses to “WWYD? School Entrance Trim”

  1. Jack Ostergaard says:

    We’ve been doing all of the above for a few years now. One pull on pairs [NL+EO]except for main entry(s)[NL+DT]. One lock per bank – right side door please. All pulls – no levers. Levers on locksets are Vandlgard. EO+EO on exit only. EO+NLOP on some of those – prevents maint.from wedging a door they need to come back thru. Yes to VR910 but regular pulls are considered better looking at main entrances. Cylinder dogging. Also Latch guards.

  2. Tyler J. Thomas says:

    One pull/lever could also help regulate traffic on doors with little to no glass, i.e. on the right side to encourage traffic through that door instead of both. Can help reduce the possibilities of opening a door into someone.

  3. Jim Jennings says:

    Lori, Interesting that this topic should come up today – the local community college has just started a project to replace all existing pulls on pairs of doors with a single pull and blank plate (to cover old holes) combination. They are also replacing all crossbar style exit hardware. Their reasoning is as you mention: to make it more difficult for someone to use an electrical tie (or similar device) to block egress. Flush pulls were considered, and may be used on new construction, but were deemed not practical as a retrofit solution.

    Personally I prefer the symmetry of double pulls, flush or otherwise, but in our current climate of security concerns the single pull probably makes more sense. As far as the number of cylinders, I think that a single cylinder is adequate in most instances. I know that many institutional facilities have dummied off or disabled cylinders on what they consider “extra and unnecessary” exterior keyed openings. As always, what is fitting for one user may be unacceptable for a second one.

    This topic underscores how many considerations have to be made when applying hardware. I suspect that flush pulls may be more difficult for at least some disabled folks to use, but I have not yet heard a specific complaint about them. Thanks again for your always pertinent discussion topics.

  4. Bryan McKeehan says:

    Single pull on the RHR leaf at each opening to have access, unless in Japan or England then the pull should be on the LHR leaf; safer by not having a user approaching the door that most would be inclined to exit through, in non-emergency use.

    Just rigid offset pulls with break-away bolts for abusive locations. Levers have too many parts to bind, wear, fail, etc.

    Cylinder only, no pulls, at egress doors, for emergency access only.

    I am more or less able bodied and consider flush pulls difficult if trying to gain access with my hands full, when I could hang my forearm over/around/behind an offset pull.

    More than one cylinder in a bank of doors is wasteful.

    New thought:
    How about keyed dogging with keyless release for emergency lockdown?

    • Lori says:

      I love your dogging idea! Have you seen anything like that?

    • David Barbaree says:

      I like that idea too, Bryan! I was thinking of a classroom security function with a similar function. A key would unlock the outside lever, but pushing the core assembly in would lock it. I have no idea if it’s feasible.

  5. Vince Black says:

    I’m a fan of 996LR Lever Trim with Breakaway For active door and for the inactive a 996-DT Dummy Lever Trim with Breakaway.

    I like one cylinder, but two makes a redundant back up for access in case one fails or is vandalized.

    For emergency access on egress doors…a cylinder with pull or without.

    Fire Department love cutting slots in door or holes to insert a rod to activate the panic device.

    Holes ….not a major repair….the slots cut with a cut off saw….someones getting a new door.

    My $0.02

  6. David Barbaree says:

    We use fixed pulls ONLY on exterior doors. And we use Von Duprin 990NL exclusively. The sharp corners on the pulls discourage strong pulling and abuse with one’s hands. Plus I have replaced the broken screws (due to abuse) on the nice round offset pulls, never on the 990NL.
    We use double pulls on main entrances where both doors are electronically opened, but only one has a cylinder. We use single pulls with EO plates for symmetry on doorways with only one electronic leaf. We generally spec cylinders on every exit.

  7. Khozema Kazi, AHC, FDAI says:

    – One Pull, off set or hospital (because kids always have their hands full).
    – I would not prefer a lever trim because of sag/failing when abused (it is school!!). Pulls hang on for longer periods and are cheap/easy to replace.
    – Flush pulls are no no
    – only one door with cylinder on pairs or banks of doors.
    – cylinder only.

  8. bruce young says:

    Lori –
    all of the questions are typical of what I would put on the table with the architect and owner the first time that I worked with a new school district. We would go over the pros and cons with physical samples and pictures of openings. the decision they would come up with is the way we went.
    for most of the last 10 years the main decision was to go with EL devices (75%+) or cylinder dogging. the outside trim was not consistent from district to district.
    thanks for you good work. I wish that this was available 30 years ago.

  9. Leon Lestage says:

    Dear Lori, Here is my first reply and I may sound vague. Our school district has many exterior doors. With double doors we find that off set pulls are not school proof. I have to replace the bolts and sometimes the pull as it does not stay on the door. We have many electric latches and use only one cylinder if with double doors. I do not worry about a problem with one door as I have many to get in. As for the fire dept. we provide a key to them that is in their knoxx box. Some of our elementary schools have ETL trim and we have not had any problems.

  10. Jeff Bensinger says:

    I spec Special-Lite Model SL-15 doors with resses pulls Von-duprin panic hardware and the Quick Panic Release button system. outside key cylinder on the right leaf as you are comming into the building. I also prefer keyed removable center post.

    Jeff Bensinger

  11. Rich says:

    It seems I am a couple of years late coming to this discussion.
    Our district is in the process of installing prox card access on all of our buildings.
    We are taking advantage of this project to modernize as much hardware as the budget will allow.
    For the most part for pairs of doors we have standardized on VD 35 pattern rim exit devices with mullions and mullion mounted electric strikes.
    The main reason for this is it allows us to use Von Duprin’s 386 vandal resistant outside pulls.
    With a conventional D-pull it is possible for 2 or 3 hoodlums at a time to pull with all their body weight.
    With the 386 this is not possible. We have had a decrease in vandalism of doors and break ins for this reason.
    We only install an outside pull when a door has an electric strike. This decreases confusion as to which door is the entry. The 386 also gives the option of installing a key cylinder for emergency access.
    Our prox card system controls doors with individual time zones so is flexible for the school admin’s needs, and incorporates push buttons in each school office for Lockdown and Hold and Secure situations.

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