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

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

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

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

Everything You’ve Always Wanted to Know About Door Closers by Vince Butler

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

Everything You’ve Always Wanted to Know About Door Closers by Vince Butler

Door closers – if you’ll pardon the pun – literally go over most people’s heads. They are usually installed at the top of doors and door frames, out of the line of sight, unnoticed. Most door closers are purposely designed to match the door and frame so they don’t attract attention.

More …

RSS Feed

Why is the Bottom Rod Missing?

Have you ever come across a pair of doors that have just a top vertical rod exit device and not top and bottom, and wondered why? Often an architect or specification writer will specify “less bottom rod (LBR)” on pairs of doors, especially in healthcare facilities.

This photo was taken in an assisted living facility here in St. Louis. This opening is a pair of fire rated corridor doors which means they must positively latch in case of a fire to control flames and smoke from traveling through the facility. Without latching hardware on the exit device itself, positive latching is accomplished with the surface mounted top vertical rod. As you can see from the picture, the door is being held open with a magnetic hold open tied into the fire alarm. If the fire alarm is activated the hold open will release the door. The door closer will swing the door shut and the top vertical rod will latch the door.

This leads us to the question of why the architect or specification writer specified LBR. While the top and bottom vertical rods help secure the door, the bottom vertical rod is secured to a floor strike mounted in the floor. That floor strike can become a tripping hazard to people that use mobility devices, such as canes, walkers, crutches, and wheelchairs. ADA regulation 404.2.10, Door and Gate Surfaces, states: “Swing door and gate surfaces within 10 inches (255mm) of the finish floor or ground measured vertically shall have a smooth surface on the push side extending the full width of the door or gate.” The regulation goes on to specify how thick protection plates and installation screws can be.

This installation is a textbook example of the intersection of fire code and ADA regulations. The goal is to keep people safe both from fire and tripping. When architects and door hardware professionals work together, the result can be a safe, attractive and code compliant facility.

For assistance in writing door hardware specifications please contact Brian Clarke at [email protected]. For information regarding our products please contact our customer service team at 800-255-3590 or your local sales representative.

RSS Feed

The Life of a Threshold: More Exciting than You Think by Dan White

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

The Life of a Threshold: More Exciting than You Think

Hey, down here at the bottom of the door frame…no, not the welcome mat. It’s me, the threshold! I bet not many of you notice me as you go about your day-to-day business, but I’ve led a more exciting life than you realize.

To start out, where did the name threshold originate? It’s a common term we hear every day without even thinking about what thresh and holding even have to do with doors. The word “threshold” has been with us since the 1500s. It is commonly understood that the term comes from the reeds or rushes, thresh, that were thrown on the floors of simple dwellings in those times. A piece of wood would be installed in the doorway to keep the thresh from falling out of an open door – thus threshold.

More …

RSS Feed

Come Two by Two. A Look Inside Noah’s Ark

This article was published in the August edition of the DHI Door + Hardware Magazine and reprinted here with permission.

Come Two by Two. A Look Inside Noah’s Ark, by Ginny Powell

Tucked into the “All American City” of Lakeland, Florida, is not just a community, but the realization of a dream initiated by a small group of parents nearly 20 years ago. It’s called The Village at Noah’s Landing.

Nearly two decades ago, a small group of parents of adult children with special needs met while watching their children take part in sporting activities. They began talking with each other about what would happen to their kids if they were no longer around. Who would oversee their care?

Their worries were further reinforced when they discovered that the options for care in and around Lakeland were extremely limited. But instead of becoming defeated, these five sets of parents took action. Big action. In 1997, they created Noah’s Ark of Central Florida.

The first homes were built between 2002 and 2007 and are located near downtown Lakeland. Called Noah’s Nest, this clustering of four houses is home to 17 residents living independently with the support of their fellow residents, family, and friends.

Noah June 2016 -10

A Dream of Building a Community
While Noah’s Nest was a great start, the dream was always to build a bigger community for adults with developmental disabilities. The Villages of Noah’s Landing, with Phase 1 scheduled to open later this summer, is precisely that.

Phase 1 can accommodate up to 132 developmentally disabled residents and only takes up a fraction of the property’s 62 acres. When all phases are complete, the community will offer a wide selection of social, recreational, educational and vocational choices, and provide for the health care needs of its residents.

More …

RSS Feed

It’s all about ‘U’

We are halfway through the year. Have you earned any of the learning units you need before year’s end?  We have representatives across the country that would like the opportunity to share their knowledge and passion about door hardware with you!

L_L_ABicknell

 


Architectural Door Hardware 101 | 1.0 LU/HSW
This course describes hardware nomenclature, correct sequencing, specifying hardware, and code compliance.

Door Hardware Submittals | 1.0 LU/HSW
Both users and components of the hardware submittals are discussed in this course, as well as what to look for in product data sheets and reasons submittals are rejected.

 

 

2-659-0306

 

ADA: Meeting Accessibility Standards for Openings | 1.0 LU/HSW
This course features an overview of compliance with ADA, physical disabilities, and 404 doors, doorways, and gates.

 

 

More …

RSS Feed

Keeping Patients Safe Through Life Safety Hardware by Jill Gile, CSI, CDT

Jill Gile is the newest member of Commencement Bay Architectural Group, a manufacturers’ sales agency that represent’s Hager in the Pacific Northwest. She has jumped into the hardware industry with a big splash including recently passing her CDT exam.

This is an article she wrote for the June Edition of the DHI Doors & Hardware Magazine and reprinted here with both Jill’s & DHI’s permission.

____

DHI_Logo_FINAL

 

Humans are a reactive species. We tend to carry on with a standard mode of operation until an emergency tells us that we might have to change our ways. This holds true for many aspects of our lives, personal and professional. It might be as simple as changing eating habits to as big as the Titanic creating laws about lifeboat requirements.

For the construction industry, unfortunately, we are faced with Titanic-level issues of life safety. Rules regarding fire codes and ADA accessibility issues are some of the main examples of changes the industry has had to face.

More …

RSS Feed