The biggest challenge for many access control systems are glass doors.
Unlike wood or steel doors that can be modified to work with electrified locking hardware, glass doors present great challenges. Is all hope lost when requirements call for controlling glass doors? We explain the options and tradeoffs inside.
[IPVM Note: This report was originally published in 2013, but substantially expanded and updated in 2017.]
Retrofitting electrified locks to 'regular' doors requires drilling or cutting door, frames, and sometimes both. Take maglocks for example: the two major pieces of a maglock must be mounted to both door frame and door in order to secure the opening. In most cases, mounting instructions call for drilling a few holes, slipping in a few sex bolts, and not looking back.
However, doors made of glass are a completely different situation. Glass, even thick tempered glass used in doors, cannot be drilled or cut once manufactured. Despite being very durable to blunt forces, a sharp hard drill bit, or even a slight warping of the pane can cause a dramatic, expensive shatter.
The solution is not any easier using strikes, because in many cases glass doors are 'architecturally significant' features that are not cluttered up with standard locking hardware. In many situations, standard hardware like hinges, exit devices, and leversets are replaced with low-profile, custom pieces designed to maximize beauty. The latch bolt a strike depends on to keep a door locked might not even be included!
So, how do you control a door that cannot be modified, may not have rails/frames for mounting locks, and likely uses non-standard hardware anyway?