BCAB #1483 - Electromagnetic Locks, Sentence 3.4.6.15.(4) (1998 BCBC)

June 28, 1999

BCAB #1483

Re: Electromagnetic Locks, Sentence 3.4.6.15.(4) (1998 BCBC)

Project Description

Although there is no specific project related to this appeal the issue concerns the use of electromagnetic locks (mag locks) on exit doors in mercantile occupancies.

Reason for Appeal

Sentence 3.4.6.15.(4) permits electromagnetic locks that do not incorporate latches, pins or other similar devices to keep the door closed provided a number of conditions are met. Two of the conditions are that the building be equipped with a fire alarm system and that the door will open within 15 seconds of pressure being applied to the door opening hardware.

Appellant's Position

The appellant asks if Sentence 3.4.6.15.(4) prohibits the use of electromagnetic locking devices which do not delay egress in buildings which are not equipped with a fire alarm system?

Building Official's Position

The building official is reluctant to approve such an installation due to the way the code is worded but questions why such an installation should pose any safety hazard.

Appeal Board Decision #1483

It is the determination of the Board that providing the electromagnetic lock does not delay egress as permitted by the exception referenced in Sentence (4) and is installed in full compliance with Sentence 3.4.6.15.(1) it does not have to comply with the installation requirements of Sentence 3.4.6.15.(4).

George R. Humphrey, Chair