The initial call came in late on a Friday. The facilities management company wanted us to adjust the exit device controlling the main entry to a building housing a retail bank branch as well as eight floors of tenant’s offices. I was familiar with the building, since we had installed a HID Solo on...
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The initial call came in late on a Friday. The facilities management company wanted us to adjust the exit device controlling the main entry to a building housing a retail bank branch as well as eight floors of tenant’s offices. I was familiar with the building, since we had installed a HID Solo on one of the offices last year; however, I had never worked on the main door.
The building had been totally renovated within the last ‘few’ years. The front door was apparently controlled by a card reader system supplied by a national security provider.
We sent one of our techs who was familiar with exit devices, and he soon realized the problem was beyond the scope of a service call.
Of course the functional problem was, simply stated, that the door was not operating properly with the card reader. The door was supposed to unlock automatically every morning, relock every evening, and allow access other times by means of an authorized credential (Proximity card).
The property manager was getting many complaints. The door was not unlocking in the morning; the door was found to be unlocked after hours; card holders weren’t able to gain access after hours.
Additionally, the schedule for the door was set for times outside of our normal hours. The door unlocked at 7 a.m. and relocked at 7 p.m. For us to be present to observe the door would involve additional overtime costs to the property manager, and he balked.
The facility manager did not understand that this door was actually a system composed of several sub-systems, and troubleshooting this type of system is best accomplished methodically.
I went to the site and surveyed the door. Immediately a few things were apparent. First this problem did not pop up overnight. I took a look around and asking some questions; after a few days for them to make enquiries, the following information was obtained. (Bear in mind that during this time, the door was not operating, and required them to manually dog the door every morning with a bungee, return every evening to remove the bungee, and the rest of the time, building occupants were arriving to the building, not gaining access, and frequently expressing their frustration by beating up the door)
• This was a large door hanging on a continuous hinge.
• The exit device was equipped with EL (Electric Latch) retraction.
• The bottom of the door had warped, preventing the bottom latch from seating properly.
• Both rods were not adjusted properly anyway.
The property manager did not know where the access controller was and did not know where the power supply for the exit device was. The property manager did not know how to program the locking schedule for the door.
The property manager requested I show up for a meeting with him and a representative from the national security provider. The rep for national security provider was clueless as to where the controller was, where the power supply was, and how to program the system. He apparently had some free time and so we all followed him around for a few hours as he poked around. The install had been done by others; there were no drawings or schematics, and another department at the national security provider handled programming the EAC.
After the meeting, we agreed that I would attempt to make some adjustments to the device. The device would not hold the adjustments I made, indicating some wear or damage to the device. The door was damaged and the bottom rod was not aligning, and when I hung a meter on the voltage going to the device, it was out of spec, indicating the device was not being powered by the proper power source.
The property manager was trying to save money. I told him we could perform a search and locate the power supply and controller, but we could not say how long it would take, or turning the page, if finding the power supply would actually cure the door given all the other issues. It would simply provide one piece of the puzzle.
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