Securing Exit Doors in Multi-Family Buildings
A PDF version of this article is available with the intension to be shared and distributed to Property Management and Condo Board and Strata Board. The PDF is available as: Secure_Your_Exit_Doors.pdf
Unsecured Exit Doors are a Target for Vandals and Lead to High Costs in Multi-Family Buildings
How Secure is Your Building?
Our Multifamily buildings have auxiliary exit doors to comply with fire code but also for the convenience of residents. Residents use these for quick access to walk the dog, go for a jog or take out the garbage. Vandals also use them for unauthorized access to the building.
Securing Your Doors
Exit doors are fine as long as they remain secured after a resident leaves. Often, they don’t. Sometimes this is on purpose as residents needs a way to get back in without walking to the far side of the building. This is to be discouraged.
On many buildings Latch guards or full-length Astragal are used to hide and protect the latching mechanism and to keep vandals from using crow bars to force their ways past the door and into the building. Often Condo boards and building managers will also remove the lock mechanism and handles from the exterior of the building, making it difficult to re-enter but continue to comply with fire regulation.
How many exit levels on the main and parkade levels are unsecured on your building?
FOBS and Digital Door Keys
When the door is used for re-entry, physical keys for locks should be replaced with building access digital FOBs. FOBs have a number of benefits for securing the building including:
- Providing an audit record of who is using the door and when;
- Alarming the entrance to identify when the door was forced open and without authorization;
- Restricting the access to only daytime hours or other time periods;
- Restricting the access to only a subset of residents; and
- Fully disabling lost Fobs or Fobs for people who are no longer residents.
Lost physical keys are a significant security concern and high cost for building management as all issued keys need to be replaced and all building locks re-keyed when keys are not returned.
Exit doors often have illuminated exit signs to comply with fire code. This is insufficient to reduce the traffic out of these doors and so additional targeted signage is recommended. Signage should be large and bold and contain messages like “Re-entry Prohibited” or “Door is alarmed” Messages are placed on both the interior and the exterior of the door with the interior discouraging residents from using the fire door and with the exterior discouraging vandals from attempting access.
Alarming the Door
Another simple way to reduce exit door usage is to add a self-contained door alarm. These door alarms can be configured to sound immediately or only after the door has been left open for more than 15 seconds. This allows the resident a quick exit but ensures the door is not left ajar.
Do the fire doors in your building have regular use from residents?
A Final Word
The safety, security, and quality of life for residents in Multi-family Buildings are essential considerations for property managers and condo boards. A well-maintained, modern intercom provides security and convenience to residents in a cost-effective way. To buyers, this often equates to a more attractive building, with higher satisfaction for residents and better selling prices for unit-holders.
Want to discover more about how HELIA can help improve the security and safety of your building?
HELIA is here to answer any questions or provide additional detail you need on upgrading or servicing your current Multi-family building alarms, intercoms, cameras or other security-related technology. Contact us to arrange for your free in-building consultation.
About HELIA Infrastructure
HELIA has been an infrastructure company in Alberta since 2006. We provide service, install and support for most brands of cameras, intercoms, building access fobs, and sensors for Multi-family Buildings. We’re happy to provide a free statement-of-work with pricing for installation or replacement for the technology infrastructure in your Multi-family Buildings.
For more information:
Phone: (403) 455-9966