Blumcraft Tubular Panic Device by CRL-U.S. Aluminum
Blumcraft Tubular Panic Device by CRL-U.S. Aluminum

Safety is one of the most important considerations in building design, and panic devices play a critical role. A panic device is a locking mechanism for doors that can be released by pushing on a horizontal bar. This allows fast and easy egress in emergency situations.

Although there are several panic device styles available for various door types, tubular panics are in demand because their slim, elegant design offers an ideal visual complement to glass entrances.

Tubular panic specification presents unique challenges that require careful evaluation. For example, compatibility issues with glass templates and sizes can arise due to their highly customized nature. Addressing and overcoming these challenges will produce safe and secure glass entrances that meet the aesthetic intent.

Designing for Safety and Performance
Nearly every glass entrance is custom designed, comprising an iteration of the thousands of possible glass and panic hardware configurations available. For this reason, compatibility considerations must be taken into account early in the design phase before the hardware specifications are written.

For best practices in glass entrance system and tubular panic design, follow the guidelines set forth in the Glass Association of North America (GANA) Fully Tempered Heavy Glass Door and Entrance System Design Guide. It specifies important parameters regarding door sizes, glass thicknesses, hardware required, and more.

Certified glass fabricators are also a valuable resource that can help ensure glass door and tubular panic designs are functionally sound and meet safety standards. They can help you avoid detrimental outcomes such as hardware compatibility issues, glass template errors, GANA guideline violations, and voided manufacturer warranties.

Obtaining the Desired Aesthetic
A challenge with designing for quick and easy egress during emergency scenarios is specifying high-performance panic devices that don’t interfere with an all-glass aesthetic intent. Fortunately, some manufacturers have been listening and we’re starting to see innovations in panic device design.

One such innovation is the new Entice Panic Device by Blumcraft (a division of C.R. Laurence). The system features an independent, ultra-narrow crash bar that’s engineered to easily and securely attach to the vertical panic component. The unique two-piece system means architects can now specify a tubular-style panic device with in-demand, back-to-back ladder pull aesthetics. The Entice Panic can be mounted onto 1-inch double-glazed insulating glass units. This is particularly important because in light of increasingly stringent energy codes, the future of glass entrances will likely be thermally broken systems with insulating glass.

Curved crossbar ends are a key feature to look for in tubular panic devices for glass doors. The benefits are twofold. First, they produce a continuous flow of hardware through the glass to create streamlined visuals. Second, they improve safety by preventing clothing from being caught on crossbar ends in emergency exit scenarios.

Takeaways
As the popularity of tubular panic devices continues to grow, architects and specifiers must recognize the unique design challenges they present. When it comes to life safety, diligence is imperative. Understanding IBC, NFPA 101, and UL requirements for panic devices, and identifying critical design considerations is vital.

A well-designed and thoughtfully specified panic device and glass entrance system can serve as a captivating introduction to a building’s visual theme, while providing the safety features required in emergency exit situations.