BCAB #1398 - Electromagnetic Locks on Exit Doors, Sentence 3.4.6.15.(4)

May 17, 1995

BCAB #1398

Re: Electromagnetic Locks on Exit Doors, Sentence 3.4.6.15.(4)

Project Description

The project in question is an existing intermediate care facility for 26 residents. The building is three stories high with 13 bedrooms on each of the top two floors.

Reason for Appeal

Sentence 3.4.6.15.(4) permits the installation of electromagnetic locks on doors in a means of egress provided they are installed in conformance with Clauses (a) through (e). Clause (c) requires that the locks release within 15 seconds of a force of not more than 90 N being applied to the door opening hardware. Clause (d) requires that once the lock releases it must be reset manually.

Appellant's Position

The appellant wishes to install electromagnetic locks on the doors to the exit stairs but does not believe that Clauses (c) and (d) apply to an intermediate care facility. Many of the residents have dementing illnesses such as Alzheimer's disease and are at considerable risk if they are not prevented from wandering out of the building unnoticed. Unlocked exit doors are frequently used by these residents to leave the building without the staff seeing them leave.

Building Official's Position

The building official maintains that there is no exemption from Clauses (c) and (d) for institutional occupancies such as an intermediate care facility. If electromagnetic locks are installed on the exit doors they must comply with all the conditions of Sentence 3.4.6.15.(4).

Appeal Board Decision #1398

It is the determination of the Board that, unless alternate provisions are accepted by the building official under Section 2.5, Equivalents, the installation of electromagnetic locks on the exit doors must comply with Sentence 3.4.6.15.(4), including Clauses (c) and (d).

George R. Humphrey, Chair