Warning: Today’s Wordless Wednesday post is not wordless. View the video below and scroll down if you’d like to read the words.
This video was taken in a residential building in Asia, so the codes are not the same as US codes (I checked). Regardless, it’s a great illustration of what not to do. I have seen this application in the US and there continues to be confusion about what is required by the US model codes.
As you can see from the video, the entrance is equipped with an access control system. I’m guessing the doors might have power bolts, because the hardware doesn’t seem loud enough to be shear locks (here’s what shear locks sound like) and there is too much play in the door when it’s locked. I have only specified power bolts a few times and in very specific locations because of the potential effect on egress – especially when sideload pressure is applied, but here’s a link if you have not seen a power bolt before.
The US model codes contain two sections that could be used to address egress doors with this type of hardware. One section is for doors with electrified locks that are released by a switch in the door-mounted hardware; it would not apply to the doors in the video because they have stationary pulls. The other section is for hardware that is released by a sensor detecting an approaching occupant; this section also requires the doors to be unlocked by an auxiliary push button, fire alarm activation, and/or power failure. What is clearly missing here is the sensor, which should unlock the doors when the person is near the door on the egress side.
Let’s not get caught up in the fact that these doors are not in the US – we can learn from them. As I mentioned earlier in this post, I have seen doors in the US installed this way. In fact, I just received an email about a situation like this today (photo at right –>).
In this video, it took a man 3 hours to figure out that he needed to push the button. Granted, alcohol was involved, but it underscores the need for intuitive egress. An electrified lock with a push button (no sensor) was also the condition at the Christchurch Mosque, where it prevented people from escaping a gunman and affected the number of casualties.