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Use of secure entry to fire exit door


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Hi all,

I hope you can help me. We have a small community centre which has one main door and one fire exit door. Currently the fire exit door is also being used as a normal entry/exit door as well (which I understand is fine). The fire exit door has push bars.

We would like to upgrade the fire exit door (in fact replace it!) with one with door buzzer/camera on the outside. That way access via this door can be granted remotely from an intercom once person has been identified. I am thinking of electronic fail open locks for this (which we would lock manually overnight when no one is in the building).

The other concern is that we no longer want push bars on the inside, as we want to control kids, and hence I am thinking instead to install one of those electronic green "exit" buttons that can be pushed to release the magnet lock, but we can place this high enough so that kids cannot reach and hence avoid opening the door and wondering off on the streets. Of course doing that will compromise the ease of exit, as this is supposed to be a fire exit as well. So was thinking of one of those break glass features that can override the magnetic locks by manually cutting off the power to the lock in case of emergency.

Now, my question is.... is what I am saying above all okay and possible and legal etc? is my purpose and application reasonable? basically I want the fire exit door to behave like the main door but with added break glass feature to override if required. But I don't know if the push bars that it currently has is a requirement, but having them limits what I am trying to do in terms of security from inside and outside.

any help and insight would be very much appreciated.



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All doors giving access to outside the premises are fire exit doors, there is no such a thing as a dedicated fire exit. So if you wish to use another door other than the main doors as the normal access or egress, no problem.

All doors used for means of escape, when the premises is occupied, have to be easily opened without the use of a key and magnetic locks are acceptable. Panic bars are only another means of securing final exit doors so if you wish to use another method that is acceptable.

If you are using magnetic locks they have to be fail safe in the event of a power failure, and have a mechanical or electrical override. You will need the green break glass box to override the magnetic lock or a thumb turn, depending on the type of lock you purchase. Also they need to be connected to the fire alarm and release if the fire alarm actuates.

When the premises is unoccupied you can lock it as tight as a drum.

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With all fire safety it comes down to risk assessment, the first thing that should be completed supported by published guidance, Tom is correct & presents good advice, the point I would add is that for example within care homes slightly unorthodox solutions are allowed for security purposes.

For example a secondary handle is allowed at a high level on a fire exit door as long as it is risk assessed, staff are trained & the system is proven to work (care homes have higher staff/supervision levels), in such places as you describe the panic lock for the magnetic system (green box) may be at a height that is a deviation from standards to prevent the smaller occupants using/abusing the system, security alarm devices (specific to the door) that activate on opening is another alternative solution used in some schools.

Whatever system you use it must be risk assessed & communicated to key staff (a policy is a good starting point if necessary) with regular tests to ensure that key persons understand the system & that it works reliably.

If in doubt take professional advice from your fire risk assessor.

Hope this helps.


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