Designing and specifying locking hardware for access control type doors has always been a challenge. In most cases interior doors – typically wood or hollow metal – can be equipped with an electric mortise or electric cylindrical lock. Exterior doors with mullions or store fronts are normally equipped with electrified panic devices, either rim style or vertical rods. Both of these types of locks provide a secure solution.
A problem that we see often in the design of a new building is that the main entrance doors to a facility or building are all glass with no means to mount a panic device. Architects and designers usually specify magnetic locks of some kind on these doors. Magnetic locks do not provide the level of security that a latching type lock does. They should never be installed on any exterior doors and some interior doors. They also become a maintenance issue over time with improper alignment, mounting screws coming loose from the door constantly closing on the device, and other issues.
In addition, when installing a magnetic lock, most building codes require several other electronic devices as well. These include a motion detector to release the lock when a person approaches the door, a pneumatic-type push button mounted within a certain distance from the door to release the door, and a fire alarm connection to release the door on a fire emergency.
Hopefully, the power supply for these doors will have battery back-up of some kind. If not, the locks will fail open. This will leave the building unsecured when the power goes out and the batteries run out.
When planning a new building or renovation, talk from the beginning with the architect and design team. Discuss security up front. Subsequently, the entry doors can provide the level of security needed.
Door Hardware Examples
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