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.


4. Loss of power to the listed hardware automatically unlocks the door.

In Plain English:

Use of scheduled hardware that incorporates a built-in switch can release an electromagnetic lock as long as it can be operated with one hand and its method of operation is common knowledge.

Opening is within the use and occupancy limitations of the code.

There are no tie-in requirements with the alarm and sprinkler systems.

There are no button or sensor requirements.

Bars and panic bars with switches may be used as long as the use and occupancy of the space does not require panic hardware (egress of 50 or more people), see 1008.1.10.

IBC/IFC 2012

1008.1.9.8 (IFC [B] 1008.1.9.8 Electromagnetically locked egress doors. Doors in the means of egress in buildings with an occupancy in Group A, B, E, M, R-1 or R-2 and doors to tenant spaces in Group A, B, E, M, R-1 or R-2 shall be permitted to be electromagnetically locked if equipped with listed hardware that incorporates a built-in switch and meet the requirements below:

1. Listed hardware that is affixed to the door has an obvious method of operation that is readily operated under all lighting conditions.

2. The listed hardware is capable of being operated with one hand.

3. Operation of the listed hardware directly interrupts the power to the electromagnetic lock and unlocks the door immediately.

4. Loss of power to the listed hardware automatically unlocks the door.

5. Where panic or fire exit hardware is required by section 1008.1.10, operation of the listed panic or fire exit hardware also releases the electromagnetic lock.

In Plain English:

Use of scheduled hardware that incorporates a built-in switch can release an electromagnetic lock as long as it can be operated with one hand and its method of operation is common knowledge.

Opening is within the use and occupancy limitations of the code.

There are no tie-in requirements with the fire and sprinkler systems.

There are no button or sensor requirements.

Securitron Q &A

Locksmith Ledger asked Dick Kreidel, vice president, strategic initiatives, ASSA ABLOY EMS and OEM Group, these specific questions about the code and its impact on the locksmith industry.

What building codes are currently used in the U.S.A.?

Currently there are only two building codes in common use in the U.S.; NFPA 5000 and IBC. NFPA 5000 is used in only a couple of States, but the Means of Egress section, NFPA 101, is in common use in federal government facilities and is referenced in most state and local codes. The International Building Code (IBC) is by far more prevalent, but IBC is a Model Code and there are a great many variations, both in the date of the code (i.e., IBC 2006, IBC 2009, etc.) and in State and local enhancements, or “amendments” as they are more commonly known. These amended building codes are most often referred to by their state or local version, such as California Building Code (CBC) or Florida Building Code (FBC).

How does the installer determine which building code is followed?

The installer should contact the Building Department of the jurisdiction where the jobsite is located and ask what model code is used, the year, and any changes made by the local jurisdiction. This is the only reliable way to ensure the installer will be compliant with local regulations, and avoid misunderstandings with the local AHJ.

How do regulations for Access Controlled Egress Doors and Delayed Egress differ from code to code?

The best answer to this is found in the Code Inspector’s Handbook for Understanding Electric Locking Hardware pages 17-20. Ledger readers interested in this handout can contact Securitron’s literature dept.

How do recent code revisions impact how the installer designs and installs electromagnetic locks?

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