I saw this door in my hotel room in Indiana last month, and I immediately noticed something that I would not have specified for this application.  When I posted my updated Decoded article about communicating doors earlier this week, I remembered these photos.  I think that looking at an issue in different ways can really help to get the point across, so here goes…

This is the communicating door between my room and the room beside it.  If you have very good eyes you might be able to spot the problem:

Just yesterday, someone asked about the multiple releasing motions needed to unlatch a communicating door – this door requires two motions to release the deadbolt and retract the latchbolt.  (Note that the positive-latching hardware is required because it is a 20-minute fire door.)  Because this door is not required for egress and is not provided for egress purposes, the number of releasing motions are not limited by the codes and standards, but I would make sure that the hardware doesn’t require two hands to be used simultaneously (two latches instead of a deadbolt/latch combo, for example).  It’s obvious that these are not egress doors because if the neighbor’s door is closed, there is no egress for me.  Here are the locks on my door, and on my neighbor’s door once my door is opened:

   

Here’s what I would have done differently when specifying the hardware for this opening.  Two of the hinges on each door are spring hinges (pictured below), so the doors are self-closing.  As I mentioned in the Decoded article, the codes and standards include an exception that allows the 20-minute fire door assemblies between hotel rooms to NOT be self-closing.  And as any parent who has stayed in adjoining hotel rooms with their kids will tell you…having self-closing communicating doors is a pain.  It’s highly unlikely that there is a local code requirement that overrides the exception, so I would have specified three standard hinges here.

Any questions?  Would you choose different hardware for this opening?

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