BCAB #1355 - Electromagnetic Door Locks in Means of Egress, Clause 188.8.131.52.(1)(d)
May 20, 1994
Re: Electromagnetic Door Locks in Means of Egress, Clause 184.108.40.206.(1)(d)
The building in question is a new eight storey office building. Doors between public and secure areas are equipped with magnetic locking devices which are released by a card reader from the entry side and by a push button from the egress side.
Reason for Appeal
Article 220.127.116.11.(1)(d) requires doors providing access to exit from a suite to be...readily openable in traveling to an exit without requiring keys, special devices or specialized knowledge of the door opening mechanism ....
The appellant contends that the push-button located adjacent to the door handle is not a specialized device and does not require special knowledge to operate. Push buttons are commonly used by persons with disabilities to open power operated doors and the push-buttons in this building are clearly identified as PUSH TO EXIT. These locks also release automatically when the fire alarm is activated and in the event of a seismic occurrence.
Building Official's Position
The building official maintains that the push-button does require specialized knowledge and contravenes 18.104.22.168.(1)(d). If, in a fire situation, the room is filling with smoke a lighting levels are reduced it is not reasonable to expect persons to have to search for a release button. There is also a concern persons with visual disabilities who are directed to an exit door by required contrasting colours would then not be able to find the release button.
Appeal Board Decision #1355
It is the determination of the Board that the button used to release the electromagnetic locks on access to exit doors is a special device and contravenes Clause 22.214.171.124.(1)(d). (This issue was previously dealt with in Appeal #1268R)
George R. Humphrey, Chair