Author Topic: Green 'break glass' release on maglocks - flats common exit  (Read 16563 times)

Offline Owain

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Green 'break glass' release on maglocks - flats common exit
« on: April 24, 2015, 10:06:03 AM »
Block of flats - 3 storey, 12 flats (4 per floor) central stair. 1968 - 1970 council build, now mixed council and private ownership.

New door entry system and steel communal doors being fitted by council's contractors. Exit doors to common stair are front and rear - both to open space.

Both exit doors have mag locks controlled by the Stanley GDX door entry system with a 'push to exit' switch internally. Both doors will (now, after I queried this) have fire 'drop key' switches externally. I don't know if these are wired direct to the maglocks or via the entry system controller.

I have queried the absence of 'break glass' releases directly connected and breaking all poles of the maglock supply internally on the maglocks. Council response is "The doors are, indeed, fitted as fail safe and have been passed by Building Control and as such, the installation meets the current [Scottish] building standard regulations."

Are emergency releases required by law (building standards or other) or is this a discretionary matter on a risk assessment?

Offline colin todd

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Re: Green 'break glass' release on maglocks - flats common exit
« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2015, 07:04:23 PM »
The tech handbook that supports the building regs in Scotland calls for the green break glass, which is also recommended by BS 7273-1.  In fact, in Scotland, it is only supposed to be alternative MoE that is locked this way, though I see no harm in having both doors electronically locked in the circs you describe.   But very inadvisable not to have the manual release control.
Colin Todd, C S Todd & Associates

Offline Owain

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Re: Green 'break glass' release on maglocks - flats common exit
« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2015, 07:31:40 PM »
The tech handbook that supports the building regs in Scotland calls for the green break glass, which is also recommended by BS 7273-1.  In fact, in Scotland, it is only supposed to be alternative MoE that is locked this way,

Do you have paragraph-level citation for that? I can't find it in Domestic Handbook 2013, 2 Fire or 4 Safety.

Many thanks.


Offline nearlythere

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Re: Green 'break glass' release on maglocks - flats common exit
« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2015, 07:47:52 PM »
The tech handbook that supports the building regs in Scotland calls for the green break glass, which is also recommended by BS 7273-1.  In fact, in Scotland, it is only supposed to be alternative MoE that is locked this way, though I see no harm in having both doors electronically locked in the circs you describe.   But very inadvisable not to have the manual release control.
Pt1?
We're not Brazil we're Northern Ireland.

Offline Owain

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Re: Green 'break glass' release on maglocks - flats common exit
« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2015, 08:31:35 PM »
The tech handbook that supports the building regs in Scotland calls for the green break glass, which is also recommended by BS 7273-1.  In fact, in Scotland, it is only supposed to be alternative MoE that is locked this way, though I see no harm in having both doors electronically locked in the circs you describe.   But very inadvisable not to have the manual release control.
Pt1?

Structural collapse? That sounds a bit extreme!

Offline Fishy

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Re: Green 'break glass' release on maglocks - flats common exit
« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2015, 08:16:36 AM »
Block of flats - 3 storey, 12 flats (4 per floor) central stair. 1968 - 1970 council build, now mixed council and private ownership.

New door entry system and steel communal doors being fitted by council's contractors. Exit doors to common stair are front and rear - both to open space.

Both exit doors have mag locks controlled by the Stanley GDX door entry system with a 'push to exit' switch internally. Both doors will (now, after I queried this) have fire 'drop key' switches externally. I don't know if these are wired direct to the maglocks or via the entry system controller.

I have queried the absence of 'break glass' releases directly connected and breaking all poles of the maglock supply internally on the maglocks. Council response is "The doors are, indeed, fitted as fail safe and have been passed by Building Control and as such, the installation meets the current [Scottish] building standard regulations."

Are emergency releases required by law (building standards or other) or is this a discretionary matter on a risk assessment?

The installation may well have been "passed by Building Control" - but this isn't necessarily evidence that it meets Building Regulations or any particular standards, nor is it evidence that it's safe in every detail!

Basically the designer/installer should have done the works in accordance with good industry practice, including the BS that Colin references.  Not mandatory, but that's what the Courts would probably measure safety against if the worst happened.  At the very least they ought to argue why the fact that it doesn't comply is acceptably safe.  This is all subject to risk assessment (there is very little in UK fire safety law that isn't), but that doesn't mean you can legitimately ignore best practice.

Offline Tom Sutton

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Re: Green 'break glass' release on maglocks - flats common exit
« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2015, 08:21:26 PM »
I can't find it in Domestic Handbook 2013, 2 Fire or 4 Safety.

I agree Owain however there is a mention in the Technical Handbook: Non-Domestic - Fire 2.9.21 Electric locking devices that unlock on electrical power being withdrawn but I do not see how it applies to your situation.
All my responses only apply to England and Wales and they are an overview of the subject, hopefully it will point you in the right direction and always treat with caution.

Offline kurnal

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Re: Green 'break glass' release on maglocks - flats common exit
« Reply #7 on: April 27, 2015, 08:45:02 PM »
The tech handbook that supports the building regs in Scotland calls for the green break glass, which is also recommended by BS 7273-1.  In fact, in Scotland, it is only supposed to be alternative MoE that is locked this way, though I see no harm in having both doors electronically locked in the circs you describe.   But very inadvisable not to have the manual release control.
Pt1?
You know what Dottys like NT always going on about the talents of his offspring but cant remember their names.

Offline Owain

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Re: Green 'break glass' release on maglocks - flats common exit
« Reply #8 on: April 28, 2015, 08:42:29 PM »
If there isn't a definite legal requirement I'll probably let the council away without the break glasses - and they are a vandalism risk (ongoing costs).

There are (a) 2 doors (b) ground floor windows at low level adjacent to the doors (c) egress through two g/f flats which have patio doors (d) egress through two further g/f flats which have ground floor windows, so the likelihood of being trapped in the close is fairly low, I think.

Offline William 29

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Re: Green 'break glass' release on maglocks - flats common exit
« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2015, 07:08:03 PM »
If it's a normal mag lock with no green break glass, is an emergency release (double pole) required?

Are flats are suitable for a stay put policy anyway?
Chance of a fire in a flat affecting both doors at the same time?
Common areas maintained sterile and limited sources of ignition?
It is theoretically possible for an electrical or mechanical defect to occur to prevent the door releasing, however, this is extremely unlikely and the chance of a fire occurring at the same time as a defect is in itself extremely unlikely.
Residents use the entrance door daily and would report any defects quickly; any such defects would be actioned as a priority?
In the event of an electrical supply failure to the device will the locks release (fail safe to unlocked).

Just an alternative risk based view when dealing with large numbers of such blocks for the same client.

Offline Owain

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Re: Green 'break glass' release on maglocks - flats common exit
« Reply #10 on: May 17, 2015, 09:30:59 PM »
Are flats are suitable for a stay put policy anyway?

Up to a point. Structure is brick built with concrete floors. There are communal extractor fan ducts which should be from bathrooms only originally but some flats might have kitchen fans put into the duct subsequently. Otherwise there should be no penetrations between flats and common areas. Ducting is steel. Ducting is in riser cupboards off stair. Bathroom fans originally had sprung fire dampers in the duct spur to each flat.

Doors to flats are ordinary uPVC or wood, not fire doors, and most flats are not lobbied.

Chance of a fire in a flat affecting both doors at the same time?

High once smoke has entered the stairwell. Doors are only about 3m apart around a corner formed by the staircase.

Common areas maintained sterile and limited sources of ignition?

Moderately so. Electrical riser cupboards (which have the fan ducts in too) have some old electrics (missing ryefield box covers etc) as well as TV amps etc. Other cupboards which are locked shut are residents' storage. Stairwell has occasional rubbish bags in (and very occasionally a motorbike!!)

It is theoretically possible for an electrical or mechanical defect to occur to prevent the door releasing, however, this is extremely unlikely and the chance of a fire occurring at the same time as a defect is in itself extremely unlikely.
Residents use the entrance door daily and would report any defects quickly; any such defects would be actioned as a priority?

Should be, building is factored by local council and the council are the majority landlord.

In the event of an electrical supply failure to the device will the locks release (fail safe to unlocked).

Not sure. The intercom control box has a battery in it - not sure if that retains the maglock.

Thanks.


Offline William 29

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Re: Green 'break glass' release on maglocks - flats common exit
« Reply #11 on: May 18, 2015, 08:23:44 AM »
Re the points below, I meant the chances of a fire in a flat affecting the door mechanism? Which in my view is unlikely.

I would suggest that the installation of a green double pole box would have limited risk reduction measure balanced against cost?

There are many that would disagree on here I am sure!? (awaiting abuse!) as they would apply BS7273.

One other question, how many of these doors do we hear or have evidence of failing generally and in fire situations?