Best Practices for Thresholds, Weatherstripping, and Fire Safety by Dan White

This article appears in the June issue of the DHI Security + Safety Magazine and is reprinted here with their permission.

An array of products installed in commercial buildings affect life safety, many of which require a UL listing. While not the largest or most glamorous materials, thresholds, weatherstripping, and gasketing products serve as barriers to fire and smoke inhalation, and while small in size, they are some of the biggest contributors to preserving life.

What is the UL Label?
Underwriters Laboratories, LLC (UL) has been around for more than 125 years and is known across multiple industries as a leader in global safety. Their simple mission, “Working for a safer world since 1894,” is at the core of everything they do. According to their website, “We conscientiously advance safety science through careful research and investigation, applying our efforts to prevent or reduce loss of life and property and to promote safe living and working environments for all people.”[1]

UL certifications can be found on hundreds of building material products, including door assemblies. “Our fire safety team evaluates a wide range of products for fire resistance and performance, including door frames, locks, closers, hinges, and other door accessories,” notes the UL website.[2]

More …
RSS Feed

Sliding Door Hardware

Sliding doors continue to stay at the forefront of door fashion trends. New styles and functions promise to keep them a top choice for architects and contractors for the foreseeable future.

As population density grows, living spaces are necessarily shrinking, which opens the market wider. Accessibility issues – and practicality – require that a standard swinging door has at least 32″ of clear width and a few feet surrounding the space for the door to swing into and out of the way. Sliding doors only require the wall space for the hardware to be installed or simply space left within a wall for a pocket door.

More …
RSS Feed

Classroom Barricade Devices

Over the past few weeks, there have been numerous news articles from across the country referencing school security initiatives and several discussed the use of classroom barricade devices. As a door hardware manufacturer, this is concerning because these types of devices often do not meet life safety or fire codes requiring free egress, fire protection, or ADA accessibility.

In March of this year, the Bremen Public School District, located in Indiana, developed a new school safety initiative plan. Several levels of security are being added, including upgrading their card access system. Unfortunately, in the article that reported these upgrades, it stated “the safety plan also includes the addition of a classroom barricade device. The devices are magnetic and slide onto the back piece of the door to barricade the door and keep intruders from entering a classroom if they break the lock. The devices are already being distributed to classrooms.”¹

In 2018, the State of Indiana released a School Safety Recommendations document which specifically included verbiage on classroom door hardware.

Under Recommendation #11
“Replace classroom door hardware to ensure fire and building code compliance. The door must lock from the inside and not restrict exiting or egress from the classroom or building. This could reduce the number of non-compliant tactics being used (such as magnets) to allow easier re-entry access by students during class time.”²

Another recent news article described how a former lecturer at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln began to discuss procedures to be followed in the event of an active shooter situation. However, before the lecturer began speaking, he noticed that the classroom doors did not have locks on the inside of the doors.

Concerned, the lecturer did reach out to the University’s Facilities Service advising them of this safety concern and suggestions on how to fix it, including the use of deadbolts. The article went on to share that the concerns were forward to the UNL’s Police Department’s Assistant Chief of Police, who in turn, did reply that deadbolts were not a viable solution as “fire code prohibits the use of deadbolts in classroom spaces.”³ Listening to officials who understand building and life safety codes is vital in having code-compliant hardware.

The 2018 edition of National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) notes in Chapter 15 for Existing Education Occupancies:

15.2.2.4 Classroom Door Locking to Prevent Unwanted Entry
Classroom doors shall be permitted to be locked to prevent unwanted entry provided that the locking means is approved and all the following conditions are met:

  1. The locking means shall be capable of being engaged without opening the door.
  2. The unlocking and unlatching from the classroom side of the door can be accomplished without the use of a key, tool, or special knowledge or effort.
  3. The releasing mechanism for unlocking and unlatching shall be located at a height not less than 34 in. *865 mm) and not exceeding 48 in. (1220 mm) above the finished floor.
  4. Locks, if remotely engaged, shall be unlockable from the classroom side of the door without the use of a key, tool, or special knowledge or effort.
  5. The door shall be capable of being unlocked and opened from outside the room with the necessary key or other credentials.
  6. The locking means shall not modify the door closer, panic hardware, or fire exit hardware.
  7. Modifications to the fire door assemblies, including door hardware, shall be in accordance with NFPA 80.
  8. The emergency action plan, required by 15.7.1, shall address the use of the locking and unlocking means from within and outside the room.
  9. Staff shall be drilled in the engagement and release of the locking means, from within and outside the room, as part of the emergency egress drills required by 15.7.2.

The Bremen School District disregarded NFPA Life Safety Code and their own state’s recommendations. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s assistant police chief was correct in noting deadbolts would not meet code, however the article didn’t share any further information whether solutions were provided for locking the interior side of the classroom doors.

In Massachusetts, a lawsuit was recently filed by the Lenox Public School District (near Boston) against the town of Lenox, the Massachusetts Building Code Appeals Board, and the local building inspector for requiring the school to remove the barricades devices they purchased as they do not meet Life Safety or Fire codes.

With the advent of social media and the 24/7 news cycle, information and misinformation are difficult to categorize or research. Many educators and the public may not understand the challenges classroom barricade devices present.

Selecting proper security for emergency egress, while meeting building codes can be challenging. It is important to remember that building codes are in place for a reason. The NFPA gathered statistics on school fires with 10 or more deaths. The last major school fire happened in 1958 in Chicago, IL, where ninety students and three nuns lost their lives during a fire at the Our Lady of the Angels School. We all can agree that keeping our children safe is our number one priority.

After each major incident, we learn how to better improve buildings to keep people safer. Following the Columbine tragedy that happened 20 years ago on April 20th, a new lock function was introduced called the intruder classroom function, that allows mechanical control of the outside lever via a key from either the interior and exterior side of the door. A standard classroom function lock is controlled by a key in the outside cylinder, which locks or unlocks the outside lever. The intruder classroom function allows a person to lock the door with a key from inside the room rather than stepping out into the hallway. Today, there are many more code-compliant options available.

The Door Security + Safety Foundation has gathered many resources for how to combine safety and security on their Lock Don’t Block website. These include articles, white papers, and other documents from organizations such as Safe and Sound Schools, Pass – Partner Alliance for Safer Schools, The School Superintendent Association, and the National Association of State Fire Marshals, among others.

The advancement of technology has introduced several electronic access control solutions. Online locks no longer need to be hardwired making installation easier and less expensive. Obviously, we feel our HS4 electronic hardware solution is the best, but our hope is to educate school districts, parents, and facility maintenance personnel that there is cost-effective code-compliant hardware available. We do not feel barricade devices are an acceptable solution for school security, due to possible unintended consequences.  We can help you design a safe school security system that meets building and life safety codes.

For more information on our HS4 Hager powered by Salto Electronic Access Control Solutions please contact your local sales representative or email [email protected] .

¹ Indiana District Develops School Safety Initiative Plan 
² 2018 Indiana School Safety Recommendations
³ The Gray Area of Classroom Locks

RSS Feed

Environmental Product Declarations – EPDs

Energy efficiency and renewable energy sources began before the 1970s but it was the oil prices increase during that period that spurred the movement. The green building field formalized in the late 1980s and 1990s when several organizations developed committees, including the American Institute of Architects (AIA) who formed the Committee on the Environment.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) green building “is the practice of creating structures and using processes that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building’s life-cycle from siting to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation, and deconstruction.”

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, better known as LEED, was introduced in 2000 by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) offering a new certification program for building design, construction, operations, and maintenance. There are several levels of LEED and when LEED v4 was released, it added new credits for Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) and material ingredients. Similar to nutritional labels that can be found on food items, only instead of the impact of the food on your body’s wellbeing, it provides the environmental impact of the building material or product.

More …

RSS Feed

Understanding Today’s Access Control Solutions

This article appears in the February issue of the DHI Security + Safety Magazine and is reprinted here with their permission.

Electronic access control systems offer an effective way to control and manage access for facilities large and small. From retail and office space to education, government, healthcare, and multifamily complexes, today’s systems are versatile enough to not only meet current needs but also have the ability to expand in the future – giving you and your clients the peace of mind of knowing they are making a sound investment.

Electronic access control technology delivers value beyond security and safety by also providing valuable business intelligence – allowing you to monitor who is entering and leaving your facilities, time and duration of visits, traffic flow and more.

TYPES OF ACCESS CONTROL TECHNOLOGY
Recognizing that a one-size-fits-all answer doesn’t work with today’s designs, access control technology is a diverse solution to secure any new or existing facility. Here’s an overview of three types of electronic access control solutions.

Stand-Alone Access Control
With stand-alone access control technology, all the decisions are made at the lock, by the lock. A stand-alone lock needs to be told what access to be given, so if a company wants to add – or delete – a user, they must physically go to the lock to reprogram it using a handheld device.

More …

RSS Feed

Latch Protectors

Being a door hardware manufacturer we are passionate about security. Keeping a door shut and locked plays an important role in keeping people safe. When you hear “security” you may be envisioning a lot of different equipment like cameras, card readers, and maybe even grilles over doors and windows. Hager offers several levels of door hardware security options, but depending on your facility some simple, first steps, may be a better choice.

In the photos below you’ll notice a metal plate that runs vertically along the seam of the pair of doors, by the lockset. This metal plate is called a latch protector and they are available in a wide range of sizes, finishes, and shapes so they can be installed or retrofitted to most locks on both single and pairs of doors.

While we don’t recommend this application, we appreciate the effort of the building owner to resolve a security issue on an existing pair of doors.

This piece of hardware is designed to deter forced entry through door prying, kick-ins, and other actions to gain unauthorized access. Latch protectors provide simple protection from break-ins that is easy to install and is a low-cost first step in a line of defense.  Door openings where latch protectors may be useful include exterior entry, storage, equipment, or any opening where you need a little extra bit of security.

For more information about our latch protection products or any of our many other security products please contact your local sales representative or our customer service department at 800-255-3590.

 

RSS Feed

How to Size a Push Bar

We’ve all heard the adage “measure twice, cut once”. This definitely applies when prepping doors for hardware. And, how to order certain door hardware for doors, like push bars.

We have several helpful documents on our website and How to Size a Push Bar is one of them. This document can be found under the Related Files tab on all our push bar product web pages.

Here are a few tips –

For a Flush Door

To determine the size of a bent end bar with bracket take the door width minus 5″ and that will equal the correct push bar length.

More …

RSS Feed

New Accessories for the Roton® Continuous Geared Hinge Product Line

In keeping with our promise to provide products that enhance the safety and security of our customers, Hager Companies announces the new TIPIT® and the newly designed Hospital Tip for our Roton® Continuous Hinge product line.

TIPIT®
This product was designed specifically with safety in mind. When door openings are fitted with the patented TIPIT® in conjunction with our Roton Continuous Geared Hinge, this combination provides a safe environment while meeting institutional requirements for preventing objects from being hung from the top of the hinge.

Made from durable, high-tech polymer the TIPIT® securely fastens to the door frame header using the included #10 TORX® SST security screws. Offered in two models, Concealed and Full Surface and two finished, Gray and Black. Suitable for both retrofit and new construction applications in the following vertical markets: Hospitals, Correctional facilities, Schools, Rehabilitation centers, and other institutions.

More …

RSS Feed

Project Profile – The Sheridan at Laumeier Park

An assisted living and memory care facility, the Sheridan features 43 assisted-living apartments plus 41 memory care residences. An upscale community that sits on 3.9 acres and has nearly 69,000 square feet of finished space.

Working with the warm tones of the design the door hardware was supplied with a dark bronze finish. The 4500 Series vertical rod exit devices were provided less bottom rod to avoid tripping hazards. Furnished with the August lever style that meets ADA ANSI A117.1 requirements and provides a continuous look throughout the project, the entry suite doors utilized 3800 Series mortise locks and the interior doors the 3600 Series locks. Both provided the necessary security and dependability of a commercial lock with a more residential look.

More …

RSS Feed

Concave vs. Convex Wall Stops

Wall and floor stops are inexpensive products that, when installed correctly, can help prevent damage to a wall, lockset or door. If a door is forcefully pushed open, a stop is meant to protect the wall from being gouged by the door or lockset, and it will also protect the door hardware from being damaged by a quick meeting with the wall.

 

Wall and floor stops come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes and can be mounted on the wall or on the floor behind the door.  For this post, we are going to focus on concave and convex wall stops.

More …

RSS Feed