Access Control Fire Exit

New to access control. I'm bidding on a courthouse which has a front door that is guarded and two back doors unguarded. My question concerns the two back doors. They want mag locks on these doors so employees can enter/exit the rear of the building but others cannot. They also want to prevent unauthorized persons from opening/exiting the two back doors from the inside. They want to prevent the buddy system potentially letting in an armed criminal.

so, how can I legally lock the only two back doors with a mag lock and still allow for emergency exit with alarm sounding? Would a REX next to the doors plainly marked "emergency exit only, alarm will sound" satisfy code? Or what suggestions should I make?

there is no fire alarm installed


You can alarm the exit doors with horns, lights, signs, and sirens to whichever extent you feel necessary, you just can't lock those doors to people trying to exit. Your 'emergency exit only, alarm will sound' suggestion would work in my opinion.

Is there a way to segregate the unsecured/ guarded side from the non-guarded side? It is possible to secure/lock/read-in & read-out an interior door (especially for an area that may have a penal occupancy code) than an egress door in a public building like a courthouse.

The guards are stationed on ground level floor (floor 2) with the rear exit doors on floor 1 below ground. Basically there are entry/exits: front door on floor 2 and rear doors on two ends of the building. As it is now, once a person gets inside, they are free to go down stairs and open the door for anyone.

It is possible to secure/lock/read-in & read-out an interior door...

Are you saying if you can't lock the exit door, lock the room the door is in?

If the building has a sprinkler system then you can use a Delayed Egress Panic Bar Exit device with a card reader on each side of the door. This will allow you to lock the door from both directions and still allow emergency egress. Although you can install a Delayed Egress Maglock I would discourage its use on an exterior door. If you had a fire alarm it would also need to wired to bypass the lock.

In the absence of a Sprinkler or Fire Alarm then you cannot lock the doors in the direction of egress. You can only activate sounders, strobes, etc if someone neglects to use the card reader to exit.

The first thing you should do is get the fire Inspector involved. There is no universal code that I know of. Find out what your local codes are before you commit yourself to anything. Just because there is no fire alarm does not mean smoke detectors cannot be installed or required above the door depending on the jurisdiction.

As for locking the back doors from entry, a properly keyed door should solve the problem. You can add access if you wish.

For unauthorized openings from the inside you have fewer options. One such option is Detex, door alarms with proper signage and loud alarms, remote and local indicators. The card reader entry can be wired to bypass the alarms inside.

Another option could be delayed egress depending upon the local code, but the acceptance is spotty at best.

As for the REX, I doubt that it by itself will suffice. It would not meet ADA (the blind cannot see it).

You might want to involve the US Marshall (typically in charge of Court House Security), your local Sheriff (they provide the personnel generally) OSHA (Workplace Safety) and the local building inspectors. Let them guide you to what will be accepted and what will not. There should be a meeting of the minds and you should protect yourself by getting the decisions in writing.

Do you have pictures of the back doors? Maglocks are not always the most efficient solution

1008.1.4.4 Access-Controlled Egress Doors

A sensor must be mounted on the egress side to detect an occupant approaching the doors. Doors must unlock upon a signal from the sensor or loss of power to the sensor.

A manual unlocking device (push button) shall result in direct interruption of power to the lock – independent of the access control system electronics. When the push button is actuated, the doors must remain unlocked for 30 seconds minimum. The push button must include signage stating “Push to Exit” and must be located 40” to 48” vertically above the floor and within 5’ of the doors. Ready access must be provided to the push button. - IBC

Sounds like you might be required to have two methods of REX.

He definitely needs 2 methods of a rex and a maglock. Note that alot of times the marshal will not like an electronic push button - they may require a pneumatic solution.

If he mounts the sensor to automatically unlock the doors, he loses the ability to keep out unwanted guest. Anyone walking by that door will cause it to go open. I don't think door locks by themselves are going to be his answer.

Very true.

Hence why I asked for a picture of the doors. Alot of times courthouses have VonDuprin or other egress/panic hardware already existing and its probably better to utilize that structure of door hardware than rig up a maglock and have to deal with more life safety and maintenance issues.

Local jurisdiction may use 2015 IBC which approves one form if RTE in pushbar is also present.

It's still two forms, but the newest method of RTE using built-in exit device interrupts may be okay depending on which version of IBC is ratified.

Thanks for all the input. I will post pics later today. I know this is going to be difficult with all of the codes, but weve got to secure these doors. There was an incident a couple of weeks ago that has them on edge. I already have cameras in place looking at the doors. I know i can set the dvr to notify the guards when the door opens but if they are checking someone at the front door they will not have time to see who entered/exited the rear.

I don't know where you live, but the local US Marshall's office should take the lead. Courthouse security is part of their job function and if waivers need to be written, they have the weight to achieve it.

Von Duprin Chexit panic device with delayed egress. There is most likely a panic bar on the door already. Card reader in and out. Use a system with anti-pass back so if they don't use the reader to exit they can't get back in.

You have some of the best advice. Get all the parties who are the AHJ to agree. It's much like herding cats in an open field, but it can be done. My experience has been a Judge has the most influence in getting all the cats gathered and in a good mood to cooperate, but they rarely put their name on the solution.

Understand that if it ain't legal, it's still your neck if someone doesn't make it out in an emergency alive and that it isn't just fire. You can have contracts and all the right kids can sign them but they typically limit liability and tend not to hold if determined the actions were illegal. Ask a lawyer.

There are clear exceptions as previously stated by others. Proper delayed exit devices, occasionally single action delay, dual action (another button 6' away) for immediate release, area smoke detection, complete sprinkler coverage, complete smoke detection.....lots to choose from.

What you are asking to do from a technical standpoint is actually very easy. It's everything else that can tie you up for days and weeks.

All this and usually a guy in the front of the building pulls a fire call station and it releases a back door so someone can run in. It works as a distraction AND opens the door! But, that's typically the way they are wired for safety.