Glenn Younger of Grah Safe & Lock sent me this photo, and I think this is a great application – I’m wondering what you all think. The model codes currently limit operable hardware height to 34-48 inches above the floor (34-44 inches in California). There is an exception that addresses the mounting height of hardware on doors and gates serving swimming pools, which allows hardware to be mounted up to 54 inches above the floor if the door is not self-locking. The purpose of this exception is to help prevent small children from accessing a swimming pool unsupervised.
A similar problem exists with day care facilities – particularly egress gates serving the playground, and other areas where small children are present. If the hardware is mounted at the standard height, a small child may leave the playground unaccompanied. Although delayed egress locks may be an option for some occupancies, they are not feasible for all locations.
Glenn told me that they have asked the AHJ for a code modification on some of their projects, to allow the mounting height for swimming pools to be used for gates serving day care playgrounds. The photo below illustrates this application. Maybe a code change proposal should be submitted in order to make this a code-compliant option?
Here is the IBC section on mounting height of operable hardware, for reference:
1010.1.9.2 Hardware height. Door handles, pulls, latches, locks and other operating devices shall be installed 34 inches (864 mm) minimum and 48 inches (1219 mm) maximum above the finished floor. Locks used only for security purposes and not used for normal operation are permitted at any height.
Exception: Access doors or gates in barrier walls and fences protecting pools, spas and hot tubs shall be permitted to have operable parts of the latch release on self-latching devices at 54 inches (1370 mm) maximum above the finished floor or ground, provided that the self-latching devices are not also self-locking devices operated by means of a key, electronic opener or integral combination lock.