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Security is not an activity that technicians can do once and forget. It requires persistence. Components might operate perfectly one day, but there is no guarantee they will continue to do so the next. As with all building components, door hardware requires regular maintenance to continue functioning properly.
Hinges wear and go out of alignment, causing doors to drag. The result can be a door that fails to fully close, which defeats the security devices installed on that door. Door operators can fail or go out of adjustment, allowing doors to close too quickly or slowly. Doors that slam can damage locks and other hardware. Doors that close too slowly can allow unauthorized personnel to enter.
Door locks wear or get fouled with dirt, causing them to stick open or closed. Locks that stick open defeat security measures, while those that stick closed motivate building occupants to take steps to defeat the lock — steps that also defeat security measures in place for that malfunctioning door.
Maintenance begins with regular inspections of door hardware. Inspection frequency depends on the door’s level of use and the required security level. Some doors might require inspection every couple of months, while others require it every day. Managers cannot depend on building occupants to report issues because by the time they notice a problem, building security already might have been compromised.
James Piper, P.E., is a national facilities consultant based in Bowie, Md. He has more than 30 years of experience with facilities maintenance, engineering and management issues.
Reviewing Door Hardware Security
Selecting The Proper Door Hardware
Maintaining Door Hardware