Electromagnetic Locks: Approved, Listed, Recognized & Certified

Maglocks are relatively inexpensive, work many door and gate types, have no moving parts and are reliable and cost effective.

ANSI (American National Standards Institute) presides over the creation of product specific standards. The ANSI magnetic lock standard was published around 1991 and it included some performance grades based on variables such as holding force.

Most magnetic lock manufacturers are members of BHMA (Builder’s Hardware Materials Association).

The Local Authority Having Jurisdiction (LAHJ) has the final word as to approval of a locking system. The LAHJ may be a building Inspector Fire Marshal or other code official. Sometimes a premises will be under multiple LAHJ jurisdictions.

Since the LAHJ is the last person you will have to get an OK from, it stands to reason that he be the first entity you contact when planning and proposing a project.

Securitron has published a manual for AHJs which is also very useful to locksmiths and access control dealers, downloadable at www.securitron.com/Other/Securitron/Documents/AHJ-Handbook.pdf .

Egress Doors

An Egress door is an exit designed to allow the occupants of a building to evacuate safely during an emergency. Egress doors are regulated by local building codes, which stipulate how many doors are required and the requirements for each exit.

Most U.S. building codes relating to egress doors are based on standards developed by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). NFPA Standard 101 stipulates have an egress door should be operated, installed and controlled. The NFPA guidelines are based on the building’s function and occupant load, as well as on the presence of hazardous or combustible materials.

According to NFPA 101, an egress door is not limited to simply exit door that leads outside. Instead, every door along the building’s egress path is considered an egress door. This includes doors that lead from various rooms to the exit, such as office or hallway doors located throughout the building. It also includes doors leading to an exit, which often includes stairwell or lobby doors. Finally the exit door itself, which allows occupants to move from the building to a public space, is also considered an egress door.

Once standards are incorporated into a building code they become legally binding for architects, contractors, building managers and locksmiths.

An egress door must meet specific requirements before the building is approved by the local fire marshal or building inspector. All egress doors must be at least 32 inches (81 cm) wide in new buildings, or at least 28 inches (71 cm) wide in existing structures. No single exit door can be wider than 48 inches (121 cm) because the size and weight of the door may slow evacuation. The door must also swing in the direction of egress if the building has more than 50 occupants, or if the building is at a high risk for fire emergencies.

All locks must be unlockable using a single motion from inside the room. This means that a separate deadbolt and a separate latching lockset are not acceptable, as they would require more than one action to unlock.

Double-sided deadbolts are also unacceptable because they cannot be unlocked from inside the space at all times. All locking devices must permit re-entry into the building from a stairwell.

No chains, bolts or bars may be placed on an egress door when the building is occupied. In many cases an exit device, or “panic bar” is the best type of hardware for securing an egress door, especially in heavily occupied spaces.

An egress door is not the same as a fire door. A fire-rated opening is designed to reduce the spread of flames and smoke during a fire. It is equipped with a fire-resistant core and specialty hardware to ensure it stays closed and latched during a fire. Egress doors are designed to allow for quick and safe egress during any type of emergency. They may or may not be fire-rated, and are used to allow as many people as possible to exit without panic or injury.

The term Access Controlled Egress Door is frequently used, and it describes a door which falls under the above definitions, with the addition of being equipped with some form of access control. This will usually include a card reader on the outside, and some type of electrically actuated or controlled locking device. When access control is specified, it is sometimes also required that traffic be controlled in both directions through the door.

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