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Unraveling the Drama of Commercial Exit Devices

Updated: Jun 2, 2023


Exit devices play a vital role in commercial buildings, providing a means for fast and safe exit during emergencies, particularly in the event of a fire. These devices are specifically designed to facilitate quick egress and prevent panic by ensuring that occupants can easily and efficiently exit the building when necessary.


In the event of a fire or other emergency, time is of the essence, and exit devices offer a straightforward and intuitive method of exit. They are typically installed on emergency exit doors or routes and are designed to be easily activated by occupants. By simply applying pressure to a horizontal bar, commonly known as a crash bar or panic bar, the latch or lock mechanism is released, allowing the door to swing open easily.


The purpose of exit devices is to eliminate the need for individuals to search for or manipulate traditional door handles or locks during high-stress situations. This ensures a smooth and swift evacuation process, enabling occupants to exit the building efficiently without delays or obstacles.


Furthermore, exit devices are engineered to meet specific safety standards and building codes. These standards dictate requirements such as the force needed to operate the device, the durability of the components, and the width of the door's clear opening. Compliance with these standards ensures that the exit devices are reliable and function properly in emergency situations.


Exit devices are a critical component of commercial building safety systems. They provide peace of mind for both building owners and occupants, knowing that in the event of a fire or other emergencies, a clear and accessible path to exit is readily available. By enabling rapid egress and reducing the risk of congestion or panic, exit devices significantly contribute to the overall safety and well-being of occupants within commercial buildings.



The selection of exit devices is extensive. Here are just a few as a general reference:



The Briton 370 Series is an economical range of push bar devices designed to suit single and double door applications. The 370 Series can be used on metal or timber swinging commercial doors. Each model in the 370 Series is operated by a horizontal push bar, which when pushed in a downward arc withdraws either the bolts or latch, releasing the door for immediate escape in the event of an emergency.




The Von Duprin 33A Series is a range of push pad exit devices designed to suit single and double door applications. The 33A Series can be used on metal or wood swinging commercial doors. Furnished on all 33A Series exit devices is a fluid dampener which decelerates the push pad on its return stroke and eliminates most noise associated with exit device operations. The 33A Series are specifically designed to be used on narrow stile door applications, such as aluminium framed doors.




The Von Duprin 88 Series is a range of push bar exit devices designed to suit single and double door applications. The 88 Series can be used on metal or timber swinging commercial doors. The 88 Series has an architectural look, differing from the push-pads offered by Von Duprin and further has the added advantage of being field sizeable to suit doors as small as 600mm.





The Von Duprin 99 Series is a heavy duty range of push pad exit devices designed to suit single and double door applications. The 99 Series has been designed to be used on metal or timber swinging commercial doors. Furnished on all 99 Series exit devices is a fluid dampener which decelerates the push pad on its return stroke and eliminates most noise associated with exit device operations. The 99 Series, with it’s architectural design, is specifically used in public areas such as main entrances, front of house exits, and main foyer areas.



The Von Duprin 22 Series is a range of push pad exit devices designed to suit single and double door applications. The 22 Series can be used on metal or timber swinging commercial doors. The 22 Series is traditionally used in non-public areas such as warehouses, factories and side exits.




The Von Duprin 55 Series is a range of push bar exit devices designed to suit single and double door applications with narrow stiles. The 55 Series can be used on aluminium hollow metal or wood commercial doors. Available as rim and concealed mounted vertical rod devices.

The 55 Series has an architectural look, differing from the push-pads offered by Von Duprin and has the added advantage of being field sizeable to suit doors as narrow as 600mm




The Briton 370 Series is an economical range of push bar devices designed to suit single and double door applications. The 370 Series can be used on metal or timber swinging commercial doors. Each model in the 370 Series is operated by a horizontal push bar, which when pushed in a downward arc withdraws either the bolts or latch, releasing the door for immediate escape in the event of an emergency.








The Von Duprin 33A Series is a range of push pad exit devices designed to suit single and double door applications. The 33A Series can be used on metal or wood swinging commercial doors. Furnished on all 33A Series exit devices is a fluid dampener which decelerates the push pad on its return stroke and eliminates most noise associated with exit device operations. The 33A Series are specifically designed to be used on narrow stile door applications, such as aluminium framed doors.




The Von Duprin 88 Series is a range of push bar exit devices designed to suit single and double door applications. The 88 Series can be used on metal or timber swinging commercial doors. The 88 Series has an architectural look, differing from the push-pads offered by Von Duprin and further has the added advantage of being field sizeable to suit doors as small as 600mm.




The Von Duprin 99 Series is a heavy duty range of push pad exit devices designed to suit single and double door applications. The 99 Series has been designed to be used on metal or timber swinging commercial doors. Furnished on all 99 Series exit devices is a fluid dampener which decelerates the push pad on its return stroke and eliminates most noise associated with exit device operations. The 99 Series, with it’s architectural design, is specifically used in public areas such as main entrances, front of house exits, and main foyer areas.




The Von Duprin 22 Series is a range of push pad exit devices designed to suit single and double door applications. The 22 Series can be used on metal or timber swinging commercial doors. Available as rim and surface mounted vertical rod devices, in 914mm and 1220mm models. The 22 Series is traditionally used in non-public areas such as warehouses, factories and side exits.




The Von Duprin 55 Series is a range of push bar exit devices designed to suit single and double door applications with narrow stiles. The 55 Series can be used on aluminium hollow metal or wood commercial doors. Available as rim and concealed mounted vertical rod devices.

The 55 Series has an architectural look, differing from the push-pads offered by Von Duprin and has the added advantage of being field sizeable to suit doors as narrow as 600mm.



Exterior Access Trims


The Briton 370 Series is an economical range of push bar devices designed to suit single and double door applications. The 370 Series can be used on aluminium, hollow metal or wood swinging commercial doors. Available as rim and surface mounted vertical panic bolt devices.

Each model in the 370 Series is operated by a horizontal push bar, which when pushed in a downward arc withdraws either the bolts or latch, releasing the door for immediate escape in the event of an emergency.




The 22 Series is Von Duprin's entry level exit devices, incorporating a modern touch bar styling for all types of doors. The 22 Series can be used on timber, aluminium or hollow metal hinged doors. Available in rim and surface vertical rod styles.

The 22 Series is traditionally used in commercial buildings such as warehouses, factories, schools and shopping centres.




The Von Duprin 33A Series is a contemporary range of push pad exit devices designed to suit single and double door applications. The 33 Series has been designed for use on narrow stile timber or aluminium hinged doors. Available in rim and surface vertical rod styles. Furnished on all 33A Series exit devices is a fluid dampener that decelerates the push pad on its return stroke and eliminates most noise associated with exit device operation.




The Von Duprin 99 Series is a contemporary range of push pad exit devices designed to suit heavy commercial single and double door applications. The 99 Series can be used on timber, aluminium or hollow metal hinged doors. Available in rim, surface mounted vertical rod and concealed vertical rod devices.

Furnished on all 99 Series exit devices is a fluid dampener that decelerates the push pad on its return stroke and eliminates most noise associated with exit device operation.

The 99 Series, with it’s upmarket design, is specifically used in public areas such as main entrances, front of house exits, auditoriums and main foyer areas.


Strikes












Von Duprin offer a range of Universal Strikes compatible with rim devices and vertical rod devices.

The Strikes can be used on all the Von Duprin Exit Devices: 22 Series, 33A Series, 88 Series, 99 Series and Chexit Emergency Exit Devices.



Why Exit Doors Open Out


Exit doors in many commercial buildings are designed to open outwards for several important reasons related to safety and efficient evacuation during emergencies. Here are some of the main reasons why exit doors often open out:


Easier Egress: In emergency situations, such as during a fire or other emergencies, the primary goal is to evacuate people from a building as quickly and safely as possible. By having exit doors open outwards, it allows for a more streamlined and efficient egress process. When people are exiting the building, they can push the door open easily without having to navigate through a crowd or encounter any obstructions, reducing the potential for congestion or delays.


Crowd Control and Panic Prevention: Opening outward minimizes the risk of overcrowding and panic near the exit door. If exit doors were to open inwards, a surge of people trying to escape could potentially create a bottleneck, making it difficult for individuals to exit or causing panic. By opening outward, it creates a wider path for people to flow out of the building, reducing the likelihood of a dangerous stampede or crush.


Increased Safety in Emergency Situations: Exit doors that open outwards provide better access to emergency responders, such as firefighters or rescue personnel, who may need to enter the building quickly. Opening the door outward allows emergency responders to enter without obstruction and facilitates their ability to reach and assist those inside.


Structural Integrity: Outward-opening doors can also help maintain the structural integrity of the door and its frame during emergencies. In certain situations, such as high-pressure events or crowd surges, inward-opening doors could be subject to increased force against the frame, potentially compromising its stability or hindering evacuation efforts.


It's important to note that building codes and regulations, including local fire safety codes, often dictate the specific requirements for exit doors, including their swing direction. While outward-swinging doors are common for many commercial buildings, there may be exceptions or variations based on building design, occupancy type, or specific jurisdictional requirements. Consulting local building codes and regulations is essential to ensure compliance with the appropriate standards in a given location.


AU Standard for Exit Doors


In Australia, exit devices for commercial buildings are governed by specific Australian Standards to ensure safety and compliance with regulations. These standards outline the requirements and specifications that exit devices must meet to facilitate fast and efficient egress during emergencies, such as fires.


The primary Australian Standard that pertains to exit devices is AS 1905.1: Components for the Protection of Openings in Fire-Resistant Separations - Part 1: Fire Resistant Doorsets. This standard focuses on fire-resistant doorsets, which include exit doors and their associated hardware. It outlines the criteria for the construction, performance, and installation of fire-resistant doorsets, including the requirements for exit devices.


AS 1905.1 sets guidelines for the design, durability, and operation of exit devices to ensure their effectiveness in emergency situations. The standard covers aspects such as the force required to operate the device, the functionality of the latch or locking mechanism, and the provision of a clear and unobstructed path to exit. It also addresses issues related to signage, visibility, and the suitability of the device for use in different types of buildings and occupancies.


In addition to AS 1905.1, other relevant standards may apply depending on the specific type of exit device. For example, AS 1428.1: Design for Access and Mobility - Part 1: General Requirements for Access—New Building Work addresses accessibility considerations for exit devices, ensuring that they are usable by individuals with disabilities.


These Australian Standards for exit devices aim to promote safety and ensure that commercial buildings have appropriate means of egress in emergencies. Compliance with these standards is crucial for architects, builders, and property owners to meet regulatory requirements and provide a safe environment for occupants.


It's important to note that Australian Standards are periodically reviewed and updated. It is advisable to consult the latest versions of the standards and consult with professionals or regulatory authorities to ensure compliance with the specific requirements for exit devices in commercial buildings in Australia.


You can combine Architectural Design Hardware with Exit Devices to help complete your commercial project. We can offer top Brand commercial door hardware where you need it.

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