Decoded: I-2 Special Egress Locks (January 2011)
This post was printed in the January 2011 issue of Doors & Hardware
This post was printed in the January 2011 issue of Doors & Hardware
When I need inspiration for what to write about and nobody has sent me a good code question that day, all I have to do is look back at my photos from family outings. That's sad, I know. :-)
Maybe I should have a new series called "Jeff Tock's Photos." :-) Jeff is one of the Ingersoll Rand trainers who travels the world teaching people about hardware, and he sees a lot of "special applications." Jeff sent me this group of photos recently (thanks Jeff!):
The good news is that these doors are being replaced, presumably with doors that will provide security without jeopardizing life safety. The bad news is that this is a popular restaurant and their main entrance doesn't come close to meeting the requirements for egress.
It's not very often that I see a news report about egress doors that don't meet code requirements. Considering the prevalence of the problem, it's amazing to me that it doesn't get more publicity, but then again, I'm a little more focused on the problem than the average citizen.
As I've said before, it makes me really happy when people send me photos of door and hardware applications they've seen in the field. I'm REALLY happy today because my inbox is full!
We're on our annual summer road trip, although I didn't have the stamina to listen to the kids bicker all the way to Florida so it's a much shorter trip than last year. Before anyone asks, I don't have a single piece of hardware with me on this trip.
Last week I got a compliment about this site from a security consultant, and I asked him if there were any topics he'd like me to do a post about. He said that a post on electrified lever trim (E) vs. electric latch retraction (EL) would be helpful since he spends a lot of time explaining the difference to his clients. So Michael, this is for you, and everyone out there who has been wondering how to choose between the two.
I love to receive photos from people who read my blog, and a couple of weeks ago I hit the jackpot. Within 24 hours I received a bunch!
This is a new one. Translation: "Emergency Exit. Break and Press."
Last night I went to a presentation at one of our 3 local middle schools, which I'm guessing was built in the 70's. What struck me right away was that the exterior doors are all about 10' tall, and the interiors are about 9' with a transom panel above. What a strange application for a school. They still seem to be working pretty well though.
There was a 9-alarm fire last week in Boston, in a 10-story condominium building. Several residents had to be rescued by firefighters, because they didn't evacuate the building immediately when the alarm sounded. One resident, who waited 10-15 minutes (by her estimate) to leave, found a stairwell full of smoke and a locked door to the roof. She was found at the roof door in full cardiac arrest with no pulse and no respirations. She was revived by firefighters and she survived. She's extremely lucky.
It's a little scary how excited I get when I find photos in my inbox...mostly because it makes the subsequent post pretty easy and I don't have to try to make the doors I see during my own wanderings meaningful. I received these photos from one of our esteemed trainers, who travels around teaching people about hardware. Any hardware people who have attended a class in a hotel meeting room can vouch for the scary hardware applications you can find there.
The fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in New York City on March 25th, 1911, claimed 146 lives - mostly young immigrant women. Building owners locked the exit doors to keep the workers in and the union organizers out, so when a fire broke out on the 8th floor it was impossible for some of the 600+ workers on the 8th, 9th, and 10th floors to escape. The fire escape was not sufficient to hold the number of fleeing occupants, and collapsed. Firefighters' ladders were several stories too short, and water from the fire hoses could not reach the upper floors of the building. Sixty workers jumped to their deaths.
A while back, I had a couple of posts about a door that opened less than 90 degrees. I received a photo of the application that inspired the original question, and I think based on the feedback I received from code officials and the fact that the clear opening width is 32 1/4", this application would be acceptable.
The hotel with the treacherous handicap ramp (see previous post) was actually a very nice little hotel, but it had some other code-related issues. I think all of the issues stem from the lack of stringent building codes in Costa Rica, but they're still a little scary for travelers who happen to be door hardware consultants.
Luckily, we are safely home and the hotel didn't catch on fire, but I did take a quick tour of the place before we left. Almost none of the fire doors that I looked at were code-compliant, and I wasn't being nitpicky.
Once again, failure to follow fire safety and egress code requirements in a nightclub has resulted in a fire with multiple fatalities. The death toll from the December 4th fire at the Lame Horse in Perm, Russia currently stands at 112 with more than 100 people severely injured.
The cool thing about writing a blog from my little office within a very large company is that I write about whatever strikes me at the time. Unlike many corporate bloggers, I am not told what to write about and my posts aren't approved before they're posted. I'm grateful that I have that freedom, because I use this forum to teach people about doors and hardware, and my favorite topic - codes related to openings. At the same time, I am constantly learning by answering questions, looking at applications, and researching new requirements.
This sign is on the OUTSIDE of a door on the gas station I frequent. I can't think of any reason it would be important to know that nobody will be exiting out of that door (UPDATE: Check out the comments for some interesting insight from a fire marshal.), but it did make me wonder when a sign like this IS required.
I ran across this photo today on a network security blog (click the photo to go there). -->
A while back I posted a photo of an egress door in an indoor soccer arena, which had nets hanging in front of it. I asked my blog visitors to comment on whether they thought the application was code-compliant or not.
That's the question I was asked on Friday..."If someone orders a delayed egress exit device or delayed egress mag-lock, when do they need the 'BOCA' feature?"
Last week, someone asked me about code requirements related to panic hardware on balanced doors. The project in question is in Israel, and apparently the code requirements there do not include any specific requirements for panic hardware on balanced doors. However, the codes used most often in the U.S. do contain applicable requirements.
I'd be rich if I had a dime for every time I explained that panic hardware is required for Assembly and Educational occupancies with an occupant load of more than 100 people (per IBC 2000 or 2003, NFPA 101) or more than 50 people (per IBC 2006 or 2009). Well, maybe I'd just have a bunch of dimes, but I've said it lots of times and sometimes people still have a hard time remembering it. Here's a true story that will help.
I just said to my husband, "I've got to post something *fun* on the blog tonight." I figured that after a couple of very technical, code-heavy posts, we all needed a break. He looked at me like I had two heads...I guess this isn't his idea of fun.
Fair warning...this is going to be one of those posts that makes your eyes glaze over, especially if you haven't had your coffee yet. But since I've seen several people come to my site looking for this information and leaving without it, I need to post about it before the next person comes looking. I'll try to make it as concise as possible, and remember, the red italicized paragraphs are the code excerpts so you probably don't need to read those unless you're really digging into this issue.
Yesterday we drove from Front Royal, Virginia to Grassy Cove, Tennessee, which is a VERY long drive. We usually plan on stopping somewhere for the kids to burn off some energy, and yesterday's stop was at the Virginia Museum of Transportation in Roanoke. I can find an interesting (to me) hardware application just about anywhere, and the most interesting hardware I found was in the President's One train car, which was built in 1916. There were double-acting spring hinges, a sliding door on a curved track, and some double-acting deadlatches - all still in working condition. Pretty cool. Click any of the thumbnails below if you're interested in seeing larger views of the photos.
The locking requirements for roof doors are a bit of a gray area, due to the varied preferences of local code officials. In most cases, the roof door can be locked on the interior side, preventing access to the roof. It is very rare (except in movies) that the egress plan for the building includes going to the roof for helicopter access. If the roof was part of the egress path, the roof would have to be maintained as an egress route, snow removed, etc.
Remember him? I guess I'm dating myself if I admit that I do since he made his debut in the mid- to late-80's, right around the time that Bill Lawliss, John Gant, and I all graduated with degrees in Architecture from Vermont Technical College. Just think where we could be now if we took those drafting jobs we were offered instead of choosing the glamorous field of door hardware.
I've been asked this question so many times you'd think I'd know the answer by now. By the way...the photo at left doesn't have much to do with the question, I just think it's funny.
I saw this homemade security device on a local high school a few years ago. The school had been having trouble with their computer lab door, and this was their solution - a bent bar in 2 hasps welded to the door. This is not code-compliant, as the codes require one motion to exit under most circumstances.
In the Good Old Days when I was a more frequent nightclub visitor, I remember trying to exit through a club's main entrance at closing time and encountering a locked door. The manager had locked the door to prevent more people from coming in. The vestibule was dark, and the dark bronze storefront door had an Adams Rite deadlatch with a dark bronze lever. The lever was completely invisible and people started to gather behind me. If it had been a panic situation there could have been tragic consequences.
One of our customers sent me this photo last week. It was found on a psychiatric facility and to operate it, a staff member must be present and holding the bolt projected via the lever. I did my best to track down a manufacturer with no luck. It's possible that it was made in a machine shop or that it is no longer available, but my first thought when I saw it was that I need to buy 3 for my kids' rooms and then find 3 suckers to stand there holding the bolts projected. ;-)
Beginning with the 2002 edition, the National Electric Code (NFPA 70) requires that certain types of electric rooms have doors that open in the direction of egress and are "equipped with panic bars, pressure plates, or other devices that are normally latched but open under simple pressure." According to an engineer I spoke with at the National Fire Protection Association, the releasing device could be a hospital latch or paddle-type release, but the fact that the words "panic bar" are used in the Code has prompted many code officials to require panic hardware.