Printed from the blog of Lori Greene, AHC/CDC, CCPR, FDAI
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Email: lori_greene@allegion.com, Blog: www.idighardware.com or www.ihatehardware.com


Apr 26 2019

FF: Why is this unacceptable?

Category: Egress,Fixed-it Friday,Panic HardwareLori @ 12:41 am Comments (21)
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I received this photo from Audrey Weiser of DHI – she was looking for some code language that would clearly state that this application is not allowed.  Unfortunately, there isn’t anything (that I can think of) in the model codes.  The AHJ would probably consider it “special knowledge or effort” which is not allowed for the operation of egress hardware, but what if you’re trying to explain to the manager of this retail store why the angle iron is a problem?  Here are some more examples of this condition from a few years ago.

Thoughts? 

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21 Responses to “FF: Why is this unacceptable?”

  1. David says:

    The only code I can find which touches on this subject would be the ADA, specifically section 404.2.4 Maneuvering Clearances.
    Which essentially states that the door must be free from protrusions.
    I’ve included a link to the explanation and the section of code also:
    https://www.access-board.gov/guidelines-and-standards/buildings-and-sites/about-the-ada-standards/guide-to-the-ada-standards/chapter-4-entrances,-doors,-and-gates
    https://www.access-board.gov/guidelines-and-standards/buildings-and-sites/about-the-ada-standards/ada-standards/chapter-4-accessible-routes#404%20Doors,%20Doorways,%20and%20Gates

  2. ADAguy says:

    Angles extend out beyond face of push bar, how are you to push it?

    • Lori says:

      Very carefully? It’s wrong, but the codes and standards don’t really give us anything to point to.

      – Lori

  3. pstockert@eypae.com says:

    The exit device is required to meet UL U305.

    IBC 2015:
    1010.1.10.1 Installation. Where panic or fire exit hardware is installed, it shall comply with the following:
    1. Panic hardware shall be listed in accordance with UL 305.
    2. Fire exit hardware shall be listed in accordance with UL 10C and UL 305.
    3. The actuating portion of the releasing device shall extend not less than one-half of the door leaf width.
    4. The maximum unlatching force shall not exceed 15 pounds (67 N).

    I would assume that the installation is not per tested installation used in the UL 305 certification.

  4. Mike Schwaab says:

    If he opening is rated, I doubt the “plant on’ has been tested with the opening

  5. pstockert@eypae.com says:

    Also, If it is fire rated door, the added angle would void the label.

  6. Gordon says:

    I think this is a good opportunity to bring in some of the historical examples of tragedies where people were injured of died from being crushed against doors that didn’t open in an emergency. Maybe knowing that having ineffective egress/panic hardware can injur or kill someone will help them understand.

    Personally, I would be incredibly hesitant to accept this setup as it negates the purpose of the hardware as a panic device.

  7. R. Michael Coleman says:

    It interferes with the operation of the panic device which is designed to release the latch when bodies are smashed up against it as people stampede/panic to exit the building.

  8. Rich Dessin says:

    From Wikipedia “Crash Bar”
    A crash bar (also known as a panic exit device, panic bar, or push bar)[1][2] is a type of door opening mechanism which allows users to open a door by pushing a bar. While originally conceived as a way to prevent crowd crushing in an emergency, crash bars are now used as the primary door opening mechanism in many commercial buildings.
    I recall some reference to exit device needing to be 2/3 of the door width as well as force on latch to release(not sure if this is in a code maybe BHMA standard). I would think that is for the purpose of preventing crowd crushing as shown in the Wikipedia definition.

  9. Ed Berkel says:

    1031.2 Reliability. Required exit accesses, exits and exit discharges shall be continuously maintained free from obstructions or impediments to full instant use in the case of fire or other emergency where the building area served by the means of egress is occupied.

    Panic hardware is designed so if I’m jammed against the door and can’t operated it in the normal manner, my body pushing on it can open it.

  10. JAMES HEBERLEIN says:

    Hi Lori,
    How about 1010.1.9.1 (2015 IBC) …”twisting of the wrist to operate”…

  11. Paul DeBaggis says:

    Good stuff! You could always approach it as not in the public safety, but do do it right, it needs to be addressed.
    Paul

  12. Jeffrey Randorf says:

    In a panic one would press on the angle iron, not push bar. Not good I suspect. I would never have installed that angle iron.

  13. Richard Costa says:

    AS long as the angle iron does not project farther than 4″ from the door or get into the 32″ clear opening required for ADA the only issue I see is the sharp corners and limited access to the push bar.

  14. David Federico says:

    Cannot access the panic device without knowing to push between the angle iron .I understand the angles are there to protect the device . Perhaps they could have been placed a little further apart to allow access to the device but still provide a bumper stop to protect it .

  15. David Federico says:

    I understand the concept here is prevent damage to the exit device. Perhaps if they allowed more space in order to access the unit without any special knowledge it may be permitted. However as it stands it’s a failure.

  16. Adam Miceli says:

    The obvious reason I can see is that the angle iron defeats the purpose of the crash bar. One reason that fire exit hardware or similar crash pads are required is to prevent a mass panic and people pushing against the door basically rendering the person at the door unable to utilize the latching mechanism. With a crash pad the crushing of bodies against the door should depress the pad and it will open.

  17. amiceli@rocklandmaine.gov says:

    OK, so we less officially call it all “Panic Hardware” for a reason… I believe that the theory behind crash bars/pads is that when a number of people suddenly move toward the exit in a hurry (read: PANIC!) the person at the door may not have adequate time to work a standard latch before being crushed against the door surface. A crash pad/bar is made to “fail-open” in this case, so when everyone is crushing that unfortunate person against the door, their body will release the latch mechanism.

    If I recall correctly this was a contributing factor in the Iroquois Theater fire? Likely many other assembly occupancy fire deaths may be attributed to this? We have more recently seen the effects of panic in assembly fires in San Paulo and Warwick, RI, though may be not directly a result of the incorrect hardware, the push of the escaping crowd need only trip one person before a tragedy begins.

    As for Code text? Fire exit hardware is just the panic hardware with a failsafe that it will open when subject to high heat (simplified). Maybe older editions of NPA 80 explained the purpose of this hardware, whereas no it just explains how it operates, but not why?

  18. John Truempy says:

    This type of application has become standard for me though never that tight they are more inline with the gates and fences you show on the other page. None of the locations are ADA locations and never on a rated door.

  19. B Dye says:

    I agree it is not a good panic exit application. I am interested in why they are there in the first place. Are they to protect the panic device from interior abuse from something running into them? Or is it there to prevent tampering from the outside to keep someone from inserting a strap or rope at the top of the door working it through the bottom to depress the touchpad for illegal entry?

    • Lori says:

      Hi Bill –

      I’m guessing it was to protect the panic hardware from cart traffic. This is the back door of a tire store.

      – Lori

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