BCAB #1553 - Electromagnetic Lock Release, Clauses 3.4.6.4.15.(4)(d) and (f)

October 17, 2001

BCAB #1553

Re: Electromagnetic Lock Release, Clauses 3.4.6.4.15.(4)(d) and (f)

Project Description

The project is a five storey care facility, intended that all the beds could be used by dementia residents. Each of the 4 upper floors is subdivided into three "houses", with each "house" being self contained with bedrooms, living rooms, lounges, and dining areas for up to 18 residents. It is proposed that the exit door, or door leading to an exit, at the perimeter of each "house" will be equipped with an electromagnetic lock in order to control the dementia residents from wandering away. The lock would include a key pad with posted codes adjacent the pad, to allow staff, visitors and normal residents easy access, but prevent dementia patients from leaving. It is proposed a switch will be located at the nursing station for each "house" which would only deactivate the electromagnetic lock for the exit door for that specific "house". The facility incorporates a total of 48 electromagnetic lock doors.

Reason for Appeal

Clause 3.4.6.15.(4) (d) states the electromagnetic locking device shall release immediately upon actuation of a manually operated switch readily accessible only to authorized personnel. Further, Clause (f) requires the electromagnetic locking device, upon release, must be reset manually by the actuation of the switch.

Appellant’s Position

The appellant contend the key pad located at each location of a electromagnetic lock is an additional feature of the system, and that the manual switch required by Clause 3.4.6.15.(4)(d) is also provided.

The appellant also contends the system will be more functional and provide a higher level of safety if each "house" controls its exit door(s) independently, as compared to the alternative of having a master switch control all 48 electromagnetic locks simultaneously.

Building Official’s Position

The Building Official considers the additional keypad located at each door controlled by an electromagnetic lock could jeopardize the intended safety level of the system. During emergency conditions, the keypad could be used to egress from that door, foregoing the required manual switch being used which would also release other doors.

The Building Official also contends that only one switch (a master switch) be provided for use by authorized personnel which would release all the electromagnetic locks in the building. This is suggested in Appendix note A-3.4.6.15.(4).

Appeal Board Decision #1553

It is the determination of the Board that:

a) For exit doors additional security features, such as a keypad or additional key switches, are permitted provided all the requirements of Sentence 3.4.6.15.(4) are complied with and are not compromised.

The Appendix note relating to "one switch" is not a requirement of the Code. The Board considers the Appendix note is not applicable in this circumstance. The suggested single switch, while acceptable, is not mandatory.

b) For doors in access to exit, compliance with Sentence 3.3.1.12.(2). is required. However, since the nature of the occupancy requires the access to exit doors to be secured, it is suggested a solution be found through the use of Section 2.5, Equivalents.

George Humphrey, Chair