ElectricianLast week I got an email from an architect working on a renovation project at a college.  Part of an existing classroom building is being converted into a new administration area, and the project scope includes preparation for an access control system that will be designed later.  The electrified hardware was included in the current project, but the access control readers have not yet been added and the system is not powered up.

When the owner did a walk-through, there was no visible evidence of electrified hardware because electrified locksets and thru-wire hinges were used on most of the doors that would receive access control readers in the future.  Even if an architect, contractor, or owner could decipher a hardware submittal and see where electrified hardware should have been installed, how can they verify whether the electrified hardware is actually in place?

On many occasions I have provided a list of door openings and the associated electrified hardware so nobody had to slog through the hardware specification to find the doors that needed wires.  I usually provided this for coordination with the security consultant or security integrator, but I have also worked on projects where the access control system wouldn’t be powered up until later.

One of these projects was a complicated system for a university in the Northeast, and in the many hours that I spent at the jobsite working with the owner, architect, and security integrator, NOBODY ever told me that the access control system would not be installed until months later.  The first indication of a problem came when the owner called to say that the classroom building couldn’t be left unlocked for students and staff to enter – the doors had pull handles, and a key had to be used to retract the latches each time someone wanted to enter (oops).  I had specified electric latch retraction panic hardware which requires power to hold the latches retracted.  I hadn’t included a way to hold the latches retracted manually, because it’s generally not a good idea to override the access control system with manual dogging.

Has this ever happened to you?  WWYD?  When you are specifying or supplying electrified hardware for a “future” access control system, are there any special considerations?  How do you prove that the electrified hardware is actually in place if it is not yet powered?

Photo: Dmitry Kalinovsky/shutterstock.com

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