Adding ADA-Compliant Access Control and ELR To A Handicapped Entrance

Feb. 4, 2013
For this retrofit installation, the client wanted to use an existing electronic access control system and existing credentials. Von Duprin SVR LBR exit devices with EL option were added to the opening.

At a recent jobsite, a pair of storefront doors were equipped with a lock cylinder and deadbolt in one leaf and flushbolts in the other and a low energy door operator.

The objectives were to provide:

  • A means of automatically locking and unlocking the doors on a schedule
  • A means of gaining access after hours when the doors were locked
  • A means of locally overriding the locks locally with a lock PIN code and an unlock PIN code. Whichever code was used, the doors would revert back to the daily schedule at the next scheduled event. (If the doors were locally unlocked, they would relock at midnight; if the doors were locally locked, they would unlock on the next scheduled open time).

The client wanted the locking solution to be a positive latching so the doors would remain secure if there was a power failure.

Control of the door schedule and access control would be by the same electronic access control (EAC) system already controlling other buildings managed by the client. Therefore the access control hardware and credential type (proximity cards) were pre-defined.

To achieve an electrically controlled, positive latching solution which provided for free egress at all times, the customer was comfortable with the level of security upper rods would provide and additionally wanted the ability to mechanically dog the exit devices. I selected Von Duprin SVR LBR with EL option.

Exit devices are available in rim, mortise lock, surface, and concealed vertical rod mountings.

Exit devices can be Fire Rated, for use on Fire Door Assemblies. Using a fire rated exit device on a non-fire rated door, does not upgrade the door to a fire door. However using a non fire-rated exit device on a fire door nullifies its fire rating.

There are numerous differences in performance and features between regular panic hardware and fire rated exit devices. The design and construction of the door is also as important as the exit device being used.

Numerous on-line resources address these issues, as well as .NFPA 80: Standard for Fire Doors and Other Opening Protectives: See

Rim and mortise exits are similar in that the latching mechanism is on the edge of the door. Vertical rod exits latch at the top or at the top and bottom of the door.

Generally speaking a rim or mortise exit device is unsuitable for a pair of doors, since one door would have to be locked (bolted) so the latch of the active door could secure the opening.

If one of the doors is inactive, it is not available for emergency egress, and therefore would defeat the reason for having an exit device on the opening in the first place.

The correct answer to issues involving situations where one leaf of a pair of doors would be bolted shut is to be found in the building code and the Local Authority Having Jurisdiction’s (LAHJ) interpretation of it as it applies to the particular opening.

When you upgrading an existing opening, it is best to verify what you have in mind with the LAHJ before committing to do work or beginning to modify an opening.

The locking features of the exit device are determined by the particular device and application. For the overwhelming majority of installations, the exit device will always provide a means of free egress. While the door is closed, it is latched, but when the bar is pressed, it unlatches.

Sometimes a door is exit only, and there will be no lever trim on the exterior of the door. So from the exterior of the door, it is locked because there is no easy way (trim) to unlatch it.

A lock cylinder can be provided on the exterior of the door as a means of gaining entry. Lever trim can be provided which can also be used to gain entry. Lever trim is usually provided with a cylinder as well for manual override.

Electrically controlling a rim or mortise exit device can be accomplished a number of ways.

Electric Latch Retraction (ELR): ELR can be provided with a new exit device or possibly retrofitted into an existing exit device. Electric latch retraction is also referred to as electric dogging, since when the latch retraction is energized, the door is not latched, just as if the exit device had been mechanically dogged. It is able to swing freely so individuals can pass through in either direction. There are EL devices for rim, mortise, concealed vertical rod and surface mount vertical rod exit devices, both for fire rated and non-fire rated exit devices.

Rim Strike: These are mounted on the door frame between the head of the exit device and the original ‘keeper’ mounted on the frame. When in an unlocked state, the door behaves as if it was dogged. These strikes are intended for use on single swinging doors, or pairs of doors with a mullion.

Electrified Mortise Lock: If you are working with a mortise exit device, the mortise lock can be replaced or the existing mortise lock can be modified for electrical operation. Electrification will enable the outside trim to be used for authorized access.

Electrified Trim: This is used for any type of exit device, where there is a lever on the exterior of the door. When the appropriate signal is applied to the lever trim. The lever can be actuated and the exit device’s latch will momentarily retract.

Vertical rod devices can be concealed rods or surface mounted rods. For some applications you can use only the upper rods (upper rods only).

Bottom rods are prohibited on manual doors as per Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Accessibility Guidelines because the create an obstruction on the face of the door on the push side.

Since our doors had a door operator on one of the leafs, the owner interpreted the ADA requirement that the opening was not a manual door but an automated opening; anyone approaching the could push the handicapped button and not make any contact with the door at all. However, it is always best to confer with the LAHJ for approval.

Concealed vertical rods are inside the body of the door and are a more attractive solution. Because it is necessary to install latches into the bottom of the door, and there is limited space between the bottom of the door and the finished floor, removing the door will be necessary for a retrofit installation.

Surface Vertical Rods are relatively easy to retrofit on existing doors because you can install them without removing the doors from the frame.

If the door has a handicapped door operator, electrical control of the exit device must be considered because the door operator cannot open the door if the latch is holding the door. Therefore, if the handicapped operator is expected to work during times when the doors are latched, either a rim strike or electric latch retraction must be used.

If the customer specifies that the handicapped buttons work only when the doors are dogged down, the door operators will theoretically not be actuated while the doors are latched. In practice, this does not always work out the way the client says it will and people will try to use the handicapped buttons, while to doors are latched.

Door operators react differently to being triggered to open locked doors. As part of the ANSI specification for low energy operators, they are designed to sense an obstruction as small as 15 pounds and stop immediately.

Some operators will automatically shut down if they sense an obstruction when triggered from a closed position, requiring the door operator be powered down and the power up sequence be performed.

Some operators will eventually burn out a clutch if repeatedly triggered while the door is latched. This happened to a nearby nursing home where clients would try to leave the premises after hours when the door had been locked, and it resulted in a damaged motor/clutch assembly, and a very costly repair for the nursing home.

Some manufacturers stipulate that repeated triggering of an operator on a locked door invalidates the warranty.

Part of the project would involve interfacing the existing handicapped pushplates with the new system so that the entry handicapped plate would only operate if the doors were unlocked or, when locked, a valid credential was would trigger the operator. If the doors were electrically dogged, pressing the entry handicapped button would activate the door operator. The egress handicapped plate would always work.

The principle national standard for low energy doors is the American National Standards Institute’s Standard for Power Assist and Low Energy Power Operated Doors, known as “ANSI A156.19.”

By definition a low energy power operated door is that which requires a knowing act (for example: pushing a wall switch or using a card reader) to start the automatic opening cycle.  While this door is opening or closing, it cannot generate more kinetic energy than what is outlined in the standard meaning, it takes a minimal amount of force to stop the door.  Force is measured in foot pounds. 

The ANSI standard outlines the slower speed in which it travels and the hold open time delay before the door is allowed to close.  Exact requirements are based on the door’s weight and width. Once opened, the door must remain open for a minimum of 5 seconds.

For example, if the door is 48” wide and weighs 175 lbs. the door operator should be adjusted as follows:

  1. Opening time to 80 degrees (backcheck): 5 seconds
  2.  80 degrees to full opening of 90 degrees: 1 second
  3.  Hold Open Time Delay: 5 seconds
  4. Closing time to 10 degrees (latch): 5 seconds
  5. 20 degrees to close: 1.5 seconds
  6. Total Cycle Time: 17.5 seconds
  7. The force required to prevent door from opening or closing or tp prevent a stopped door from opening or closing shall not exceed 15 ftlbs.

Proper signage is also mandatory.

A low energy power assist door reduces the force or effort it takes to push or pull the door open. 

It is strongly recommended that an inspector certified by the American Association of Automatic Door Manufacturers (AAADM) inspect all automatic pedestrian doors at the time of installation and, at a minimum, annually. It is also recommended that a qualified professional maintain the doors on a regular basis according to the manufacturer's instructions. A Daily Safety Check label, which is available through door manufacturers and service providers, should be installed on or near all automatic door equipment.

Von Duprin RG-27 Series

Series RG-27 Vertical Rod and Latch Guards protect the bottom rods of exit devices from the damaging impacts of carts or gurneys passing through doors. If bottom rods become damaged, the exit device will not function as intended and can jeopardize the ability to exit safely during an emergency.

In addition to protecting the vertical rod, the guard provides a smooth, unobstructed surface so the door can be pushed open easily with the bumpers of a wheelchair. The standard latch guard features a 45-degree ramp and a continuous ramp on full width or extended latch guard.

Latchguards can cover latches as large as 1¹|4"W x 10"H x 17|8" (32mm x 254mm x 48mm) they are constructed of stainless steel in US32D finish.

projection. For use on Hollow Metal Fire-Rated Doors.

The Series includes:

RGO — Rod guard only (Projection 1³|16" (30mm)

RG-27 — Rod and latch guard.

RG-27-3 — 3' (914mm) Rod Guard and Extended Latch Guard.

RG-27-4 — 4' (1219mm) Rod Guard and Extended Latch Guard.

LGO — Latch guard only.

LGO-3 — 3' (914mm) Extended latch guard only.

LGO-4 — 4' (1219mm) Extended latch guard only.

For more information, contact your local locksmith distributor or Von Duprin, telephone 877-840-3621. Web site

Timer Module

When a handicapped operator is used on an opening with electric locks, it is sometimes necessary to include a timer module so when the handicapped button is pressed while the doors are locked, the door operator waits a short time for the lock to release before it begins to open the door(s).

The BEASensors Br3 is a logic module for applications including simple timing, door mounted sensor inhibiting and advanced relay sequencing. With multiple functions in one module, technicians will only need to carry one solution. One module has 12 modes.

The MC25 2 Relay Sequence mode is used on Automatic swing doors with a push plate and electric locking devices. This mode replicates the BEA mc25 module which applies a trigger to the electric lock first then after a slight delay actuates to door operator. This prevents the door operator from starting to open the door before the electric lock has released. If the door operator attempts to open against the electric lock, it usually binds up the laock and of course the door does not open.

For more information, contact your local locksmith distributor or BEA Sensors, telephone 800-523-2462. Web Site: