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Hello

Can I ask what door security measures are taken by those of you in rented church premises?

 

Currently my pre school rents a church hall. Our security is fine, but the use of staff time to ensure security is an issue.

 

Because the church is used regularly throughout the week (during the times when the Pre School meet) we cannot always ensure that the outer door of the building is locked, as so many users are accessing various rooms in the building. So to maintain safety, to our Pre School room we manually lock our room by means of a strange form of hook over clip at the top of door to doorframe. This has to be done by a second member of staff allowing the first member of staff to leave the room.

However, this is causing a huge problem throughout the sessions. Every time a member of staff leaves the room (to take child to toilet, answer phone, answer main door etc.) another staff member has to leave whatever they are doing to manually hook the catch to lock the door, and then when the staff who has exited the room wants to return, she has to ring doorbell for staff in room to come and let her back in again. As you can imagine - much disruption.

The committee and church have given the go ahead for a better system. But where do we start?

Problem 1. The door is a designated fire exit.

Problem 2. The room we use needs to be accessed throughout the week by many users as we do not have sole use.

 

Are there any security systems which comply with fire regs, plus let staff out without taking 2 people to man the door, keep children in, keep unauthorised people out, let staff back in again without having to call on other staff and let other uses have free access to the room when we're not there? What options are there? Please help - urgent matter to be decided on asap.

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Hmm, that's a problem. We too are in a church hall and we have all the external doors locked. Anyone who is allowed access to the Chapel has their own key (flower arranger, Minister and caretaker) They all stick their heads round the door to let us know they are there so we don't panic if we hear people moving about in the Chapel.

 

Luckily the toilets and kitchen are both just off our room so there's no need for worry. We have used stair gates to stop children going into the kitchen on their own.

 

Is the main body of the Church unlocked during the day?

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This has been a big issue with our setting. We are in a shared church hall & the amount of church people just wandering in and out was huge. This caused me a major headache as when i would ask them what they wanted they would look at me in disgust. I placed big notices on the door telling every one that the hall was being used for playgroup and entrance was to be avoided if possible. I approached the minster and explained the issues he addressed the church members who now have got the idea of it! When some one does enter from the church most of them now ask for the visitors book, however some still feel it is silly as they want to get a key and that's all. This took a long time coming round but i think the penny has dropped.

I would get fed up of hearing the doors open & see some one "Just nip through " so I found a luggage strap and secured the doors with this looped around the handles to prevent entrance. This caused a stir!!! I also spoke to the booking secretary who was a teacher, she clearly tells any other users that they can not enter while we are in session. At the end of the day we rent the hall....the complete hall.....so only playgroup should be in the hall not church people requiring a key.

Hope you can get something sorted!

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Absolutely! If you've rented it, it's for your sole use! After all, would they wander in through a church service for a key! (Bit bizarre thought that - hahah - it's Friday).

 

Maybe those security key code things would be a good idea for that particular door. But is does seem as if your visitors need educating! We very rarely get folk in, so when someone does stick their head round the door, which has book boxes in front of it so it only opens that much, we occasionally welcome them with open arms! WOOOO a visitor!

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A difficult one.. we too used those hooks for the doors to prevent children accessing areas, and others coming in..nightmare as someone always seemed to be opening or locking doors.

 

we then had some of those alarms which make a sound when contact is broken put onto the doors for things like leaving for toilet, and staff member always said leaving the room for..... we then were able to leave the door unlocked until her return as the alarm would sound if anyone opened the door and we could be there quickly to check, children learnt quickly not to touch door and it alerted us to ins and outs .....

 

 

This became double important when they fitted a new fire door which only needed a touch to the bar for it to fly open.. unable to put catch on we found the alarm a suitable compromise which big O were happy with.. (had a risk assessment for it)

 

They can be switched off when we are not in the building and church were happy with this if we provided and maintained them..they did not cost much and they lasted for ages.

 

For the phone we invested in a cordless model so no need to leave the room, and eventually a mobile as we found we were taking calls for hall booking or other such non pre-school stuff..made our life easier.

 

 

We too have the notice no one to enter without permission stating Ofsted requirement as reason! Mention of Ofsted and all seemed to understand!

 

Inge

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We had a similar problem and solved it by fitting a gate. I mean literally like a garden gate, got a carpenter to make a really nice wooden one, painted it and hey presto.

 

When we leave the hall we lift the gate off at the hinges and all that is left behind are the hinge bases and part of the latch. We got permission from the landlord. It takes seconds to 'hang' it at the start of each session

 

The latch to open the gate is on the 'other side' so when wanting to leave the room the adult just puts hand over and undoes latch. None of the children are tall enough to do this but then someone suggested it might be possible for a little budding mountaineer to drag some resource or other and climb! As an extra precaution we put on a door chain (again on other side) it works perfectly for us. Been using it for a couple of years, gate has never been left open and no child has ever attempted to climb!

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We had a gate when we were in the school hall, many years ago. But I thought it might not help unwanted adults entering the premises, it just stopped children exiting on their own

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We had a gate when we were in the school hall, many years ago. But I thought it might not help unwanted adults entering the premises, it just stopped children exiting on their own

 

Oops maybe I misunderstood the query :o

I took it that the adults entering the building couldn't be stopped but as a result there was no guarantee in relation to the security of the main door. As this put the children at risk the preschool room door currently needs two adults to secure childrens safety so i thought maybe a gate could be a solution as children would have no access to an unlocked main door.

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Thanks for the replies

My issue isn't about other users of the church entering our room, as currently they can't (due to the hook fasten we have on the inside of the door).

My main problem is that every time one of the staff has to go through the the Pre School room door to access other areas of the building eg toilet, kitchen etc. it is taking an additional member of staff to lock room door for them as they leave the room. Then have to wait for it to be reopened on member of staffs return - which is a nightmare if we are out in the garden or busy with activities which need supervision like water play and scissors etc.

Keypad sounds good idea. How does the keypad thing work? Can it be used on a designated fire exit? Anyone else got one on fire exit? Are Ofsted OK with that? Can keypad code be disabled when we weren't there as others need to use the room we use and we wouldn't want anyone else to know the code.

Looking forward to some more advice - really much appreciated

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Just thinking on my feet

Basically what I need is

1. Easy access for adults to open door from inside incase of fire yet secure enough that children could not get out

2. No access from outside of room to unauthorised persons

3. Easy access from outside room for staff to get back in

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I might be wrong but I thought I saw a keypad door entry system somewhere or other that had an emergency exit button. So you could 'lock' it to prevent access in but still be able to get out quickly in an emergency.

 

I found this which seems to be a lock whereby you need a key to get in but can get out by what they call a "single action" from the inside. Not sure if its exactly what you want, but a bit of internet searching will probably turn something up!

 

Maz

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We currently have had a keypad lock on our back door for access from the outside, it has a pull down lever type handle for the inside. It can also be locked into open position if needed, so may be a solution for you. It is installed at the top of the door away from little hands reach. It has been installed for quite a few years and been through two inspection and never been raised as a problem.

 

Penny

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hi we had very similar problems -both door and church people coming in and out - we fitted a Yale lock on the existing door and all stff carry a key . That means children have no route of escape - staff can go in and out as no one needs to lock door after as it engages as it shuts and necessary people can get back in with their own key .

Another thought is - we had local fire officer out to look at door and suggest possibilities as we were woried that by locking door we were preventing exit in cases of a fire . His point of view was that in the case of small children the need to keep them safe and secure far outweighs the risk and consideration of a fire - hope this helps

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How does the keypad thing work? Can it be used on a designated fire exit? Anyone else got one on fire exit?

 

 

Forgive me if I'm wrong and reading through post above I could well be but I always understood that if it was a designated fire exit then you shouldn't have it blocked/barred/locked in any way, shape or form!! If you are allowed key pads or hooks then why dont you just put a handle on it above childrens level so it can only be opened by an adult. This would be no more of a hinderance to opening ten a hook would Otherwise I suggest you get a fire officer in to check, before you go to the expense of paying out for a key pad

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We have a keypad system which also has a built in intercom so if your not able to get to the door u can buzz people in from a phone type thing after you have spoken with them, it only has a lever inside so its easy to open in an emergency as it is a fire door, it can also be locked onto open if we're moving boxes and dont have free hands. Works a treat ..apart from when its first thing monday morning and you forget the number :o

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How does the keypad thing work? Can it be used on a designated fire exit? Anyone else got one on fire exit?

 

 

Forgive me if I'm wrong and reading through post above I could well be but I always understood that if it was a designated fire exit then you shouldn't have it blocked/barred/locked in any way, shape or form!! If you are allowed key pads or hooks then why dont you just put a handle on it above childrens level so it can only be opened by an adult. This would be no more of a hinderance to opening ten a hook would Otherwise I suggest you get a fire officer in to check, before you go to the expense of paying out for a key pad

 

 

This does seem a sensible suggestion although it won't meet criteria 2. No access from outside of room to unauthorised persons.

 

Can a push bar be fitted, as we had on our fire exit doors?, this will still mean access into the room would need an adult to open the door for people needing to re-enter, we had an buzzer/intercom on ours so we could define who was wanting entry before opening the door.

 

I don't know the regulations re: fire safety but it looks to me like the code button entry system may be the most useful so far.

Or for less cost a yale lock with each staff having a key, subject to fire officer approval.

 

Please let us know what you decide in the end.

 

Peggy

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Our key pad is on a fire exit and as said previously we have had this through at least two ofsteds and more recently we had to have a Fire Risk Assesment done by the company who check our fire equipment and this was not queried during this. As the handle for the keypad from the inside is only the same as a normal door handle, I can't see there being a problem.

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  • 2 months later...

The issue of our door problem is still a major headache for us. We have now been informed by the church (who contacted the fire officer on our behalf) that internal fire doors mustn't be locked and swipe cards or punch buttons wouldn’t be safe in the event of fire, because you should be able to use fire exits and any doors on the escape routes without a key and without specialist knowledge.

So they suggested having a high door handle at a height that could be operated by adults but not toddlers however they realised this wouldn’t give us security against intruders.

Arghhh!!! So how are we supposed to comply to both Ofsted regs and Fire regs which contradict each other - what a pain. Sorry for the moan, just about had enough.

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We had this problem (unauthorised entry) at last inspection and have fitted safety chain at high level. We also have high level latch that operates from either side. This does mean that when staff member is outside door safety chain is off but we would be visiting shed outside main door so should see any visitors. Chain was suggestion of Inspector. See what happens at next inspection! korkycat

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Could you fit a yale lock which you could open easily from your side in the event of need, but no-one could get in from the other side and it could be de-activated when you aren't there

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Am I missing something here or dosen't this affect us all. Surely all our doors are fire exits to some degrees, so how are we supposed to stop intruders if we can't lock, keypad etc.

 

Do the fire officers, have a solution?

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Fire officers apparently do not come out to settings anymore!? and couldn't give any advice as what to do all they would advise is easy access into building in case of emergency - they are looking at it solely from a fire exit/safety point of view therefore they say internal doors mustn't be locked at all - so no yale lock/ bolts etc.

Ofsted want the premises to be secure...... so they are looking for locks.....?

Church has loads of different users (35+) who all have access to premises, and don't want to have any changes to current door system which is ridiculous ----- ARGH!!!!!!!!!! Unfortunately, I think it will need an awful incident to occur before anybody even starts to take this matter seriously.

Does anybody know whether Ofsted will give advice/suggestions and whether they actually work in conjunction with fire safety laws?

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