Why commissioning is important

An interesting story for those who haven’t seen it
A shopping mall in Singapore had a false alarm, and the fire shutters closed in a basement area, blocking off the 2 exits. It was fortunate that it was only a false alarm, otherwise the outcome could be very different.


A couple of relevant quotes -
“A lot of people only found out that the exit to the MRT station was sealed after reaching it, but could not turn back as there too many people stuck behind them."

Another employee who has worked in a store located on basement storey one for eight years told reporters that the mall would organise fire drills once every few months:
“Every time the fire alarm sounds, the fire shutters would close.
“However, there has not been an incident in the last few years.
“Only after the renovations did the problems surface.”

It is clear that it has been like that for 8 years, which raises questions for the mall owners, whatever compliance regime they have and of course, the design for evacuation and the use of shutters on the exits.
According to the mall owners “it was only for 10 minutes” so that is ok then…

Could this happen in NZ - I am sure it can and has, and we have all seen examples

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Just something we may wish to look at in NZ. We just finished the commissioning tests at a theatre complex and decided to test the automatic sliding doors at the final exits. The sliding doors are supposed to open on power failure - they did not open on power failure because of the battery backup. We asked the installer to fail the battery backup - the doors did not open but were able to be manually slid into the open position (If you could get your finger tips into the crack between the opposing sliding panels). Not very good for crowd occupancies and does not meet the requirements of C/AS2-7.
The sliding door supplier was the NZ leading supplier for sliding doors. The doors do meet the requirements of the Australian Standard AS 5007-2007 Powered doors for pedestrian access and egress but does not meet the requirements for the NZ Building Code Acceptable Solutions.
The workaround is to put the sliding doors on a UPS and reprogram the doors to open on failure of the UPS (power failure to the doors) using the sliding door into battery backup. That way security can be maintained by the UPS.
So a big slap on my own wrist for just assuming that the sliding door installers were doing it right for all these years.
Lets see how the IQP’s go in ratting out all our mistakes.

But if the doors open normally (ie when someone approaches) on battery backup why do they need to open fully on power failure?

The battery backup keeps the door operating for as long as the battery lasts - effectively power loss in that case is the failure of the UPS battery, rather than mains power. Unless the power comes back on in time, when the battery goes flat, the door has to fail safe. You can’t expect people to pry the door open with their fingernails
This applies doubly so when you are using an auto door for a door that normally requires hardware where you can open the door without operating hardware - eg panic bars, since you are relying on the door to provide that function for easy egress, so e.g having a handle or rail you pull sideways like a manual sliding door won’t work.

Has anybody read and applied NFPA 3?