BCAB #1271 - Key Operated Locks on Exit Doors, Sentence 3.4.7.12.(15)

January 15, 1992

BCAB #1271

Re: Key Operated Locks on Exit Doors, Sentence 3.4.7.12.(15)

Project Description

The building in question is an existing drug store. The exterior exit doors are equipped with double barrel deadbolt locks, i.e. they require a key to open from the inside.

Reason for Appeal

Sentence 3.4.7.12.(15) states that exit doors must be openable without the need for "keys, special devices or specialized knowledge of the door opening mechanism" at any time the building is occupied by other than security personnel.

Appellant's Position

The appellant contends that key operated locks are not prohibited on exit doors provided the door is not locked while the building is occupied. He has letters from the Office of the Fire Commissioner confirming they have no objection to keyed locks provided the doors are not locked while there are persons in the building and that these locks do not contravene the B.C. Fire Code.

Building Official's Position

The building official maintains that, in reality, buildings such as drug stores are occupied by staff other than security personnel when the buildings are locked to exclude the public. When keyed locks are used, Sentence 3.4.7.12.(15) is violated and the only practical way to assure the level of safety intended by the Code is to prohibit keyed locks.

Appeal Board Decision #1271

It is the determination of the Board that Sentence 3.4.7.12.(15) permits the installation of locks or latches that require a key to open the exit door from inside the building providing the doors are not locked when the building is occupied by other than authorized security personnel. The Board considers that the authority having jurisdiction must be satisfied that such devices are not going to be misused by engaging the lock while the building is occupied.

Please note that the Board did not deal with your second question regarding a clear path of travel to the existing second exit from the basement because it felt this was an operational problem not related to the interpretation or application of the Building Code.

George R. Humphrey, Chair