BCAB #1355 - Electromagnetic Door Locks in Means of Egress, Clause

May 20, 1994

BCAB #1355

Re: Electromagnetic Door Locks in Means of Egress, Clause

Project Description

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 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 ....

Appellant's Position

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 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 (This issue was previously dealt with in Appeal #1268R)

George R. Humphrey, Chair