Until now, the two standards we have discussed, BS EN 179 and BS EN 1125 are both based on mechanical locking solutions.
That’s great from an escape perspective, but can provide limited flexibility to a security consultant, where more complex control of escape doors is required.
This need is answered with BS EN 13637 introduced in 2016.
BS EN 13637 gives us electronic control of an escape door by means of a dedicated electronic control unit located next to the door which can be connected into the access control system.
These blog posts will provide a high level, easy to understand overview of the standard, however the standard and any implications should be read in full to ensure compliance.
Disclaimer: This information is provided “as is” and is accurate at the date of being published. Ross Bale Security Specialist accepts no liability for the use of this information.
You should always consult a registered architectural specifier prior to specifying escape standards.
This standard allows two separate operations to unlock a door, and this can be achieved with One or two hands, whereas BS EN 179 and BS EN 1125 requires a single action, and single handed operation.
In addition, BS EN 13637 provides three distinct ways of operating:
Blocking escape doors
This may at first seem counter-intuitive, but in certain environments, such as airports, we would not want someone who has not passed through the security search process mis-using an emergency escape door to move between the landside and airside areas, potentially introducing weapons or other illegal items.
In this instance, when someone activates the push button or panic bar, the door does not open, but an alarm will be generated into the security control room, officers can use video surveillance to determine if there is a real emergency, and can release the door remotely, or send an officer to manage the escape and stand at the doorway ensuring that people go the correct way.
Delay escape doors
This mode of operation is great for retail outlets or maternity units, as we can automatically open the door after a pre-determined amount of time has passed, giving security staff an opportunity to detain the assailant.
The control unit at the door can be configured to delay automatically for 15 seconds. During this time there will be an illuminated ring of indicator lights around the panic button that will count down so that the person attempting to exit knows something is happening which reduces the risk of panic in a legitimate emergency.
If there is a video surveillance camera positioned to monitor the door, and if the building operator can prove that a security officer was monitoring the door when the panic button was activated, the delay can be extended once to a maximum of 3 minutes, after which point the door must open.
Escape doors fitted with mechanical emergency panic bars can become a weak point within the building perimeter and may become the main focus of an attacker trying to gain access to a building.
There is a temptation for the building owner to chain the panic bars of double doors together and secure with a heavy duty padlock outside of hours to reduce the chance of someone entering from the outside.
The danger with this method, is the building owner must remember to remove the padlock and chain whilst the building is in use, otherwise they will hamper the escape and put lives at risk.
Under BS EN 13637, we can add an electronic lock, such as an electrically operated solenoid bolt to the door which is interfaced into the intruder detection system.
With this arrangement, the building owner is already used to arming the intruder system when they leave and disarming it in the morning, if the bolt is only applied to the door when the intruder alarm is armed, we increase security and eliminate the risk of someone forgetting to unlock the door.
For further detailed information, please download this best practice guide from the Door Hardware Federation.