As I mentioned last week, you will begin to see some new faces around here.  Mark Kuhn of Allegion will be helping me out with some code development work and other duties, including an occasional blog post.  In today’s post, Mark shares some thoughts on a location where he frequently sees code violations.   ~Lori


Mark Kuhn of AllegionAs Hardware Nerds we notice things that the general population doesn’t see. I’m sure this is the case with any sort of specialized field. For example, the Computer Nerd is the first to tell you that “1,2,3,4” is not a very good password. This has become a little bit of a running joke between my wife and I:  “We can’t go anywhere without you saying something about the hardware.”

In my early days, this was a much bigger problem, because my bad hardware habit was to tell people who had invited us to their house, just how easily their doors could be broken into. As you can imagine, this was not welcomed behavior. 😊 Lately instead of making my friends worry, laying wake at night listening for sounds of intruders, my new thing is pointing out the egress code violations of any place we visit. This way the only person I worry is my poor wife.

assembly occupancyI have found a certain place that never fails to provide me with loads of ammo – the funeral home.  Here’s the problem – in my part of the country at least, it’s a place that’s not quite commercial because that would feel too cold, and not quite residential, because they need the space for people to assemble and to also make all of the preparations. In many cases, the funeral homes were at one time just a very large house (back when it was normal to have 20 kids) with a few walls knocked down to make a big room. So, the building started its life as a residence and now has been transformed into an assembly occupancy. Do you see the problem here?

I’m new at this blog thing, so I haven’t been taking pictures of any of the offenses, plus I’m pretty sure that snapping a bunch of pictures while offering your condolences isn’t in the best taste. However, let me just say, I’ve seen some doozies. The most common violations I see are doors that swing into an assembly space that in some cases will hold more than 50 people. I’ve also seen pairs of doors with dummy trim on a flush bolted inactive leaf. And loads of non-ADA-compliant doorknobs, and my favorite (I don’t know why) – the hidden door behind floor-to-ceiling curtains.

I’m sure that in most cases the owners of these establishments have no clue that they have the makings of a what could be a real tragedy. Just like your grandma thinks that “1,2,3,4” makes a good PIN number. But, what if a candle falls over (and I have seen open flames in these places) and some flammable materials (curtains, dried flowers, etc.) catch fire. Then you would have dozens, in some cases more than 50 or 100 people – all trying to egress through one pair of doors, swinging into the space with a knob on one door and flush bolts and dummy knob other the other.

I for one will be speaking up about this in the future, and not just to my wife.

Here are some additional resources addressing the requirements for doors serving these spaces:

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