A delayed egress locking system, as defined in the International Building Code (IBC), is a non-mandatory locking system that is permitted on egress doors. The system operates in conjunction with existing locks and latches as are required by code. The delayed egress lock provides an approved means of restraining/releasing an egress door that is otherwise required to remain operable from the egress side.
When someone attempts to operate an exit device or push open a door equipped with a delayed egress locking mechanism, an irreversible alarm sounds and the timed countdown begins. The lock remains locked, preventing the door from opening, for a predetermined 15 or 30 seconds.
Note: For a 30-second delay, the (LAHJ must provide the authorization in writing.
The alarm continues to sound during the countdown. After the delay time has elapsed, the door can be opened by activating the release mechanism. The notification continues to sound until the mechanism is reset by a knowing act.
In an emergency, a signal from the fire/life safety system will release the lock for uninhibited egress.
For hospitals and healthcare facilities, delayed egress locking mechanisms can provide an additional level of safety for newborn and infants, and for patients in psychiatric wards or Alzheimer’s units. Delayed egress locks can help to control the movements of individuals who are a danger to themselves or others.
Many hospitals and healthcare facilities use delayed egress lock mechanisms to prevent individuals from leaving sensitive areas through stairwell and secondary corridor doors. When unauthorized individuals attempt to leave, they activate an alarm and are delayed from leaving either 15 or 30 seconds before the door can be opened.
The disadvantage is that delayed egress-equipped doors require a “knowing act” to turn off the alarm and reset the system once someone has attempted egress. A “knowing act” can be defined as a keypad, key switch or card presented to a card reader. A “knowing act” is not pushing a button. The mechanism must be located within reasonably close proximity.
At a minimum, hospitals and healthcare facilities must be Building Code compliant within their state. Delayed egress lock mechanisms are designed to meet National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 101 Life Safety 2012 version, International Fire Code (IFC), International Building Codes 2012 version (IBC) and state building codes. For example, California hospitals are OSHPOD (Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development) jurisdiction compliant.
Contact your local and state government or local authority having jurisdiction to determine which codes and what versions have been adopted by the governing agencies.
Delayed egress locks can have a 15-second or 15- and 30-second delayed egress timer with internal or external audible alarms that can be set to be triggered internally or by external contacts. Delayed egress locking mechanisms are compatible with most access control systems.
Only install a delayed egress lock mechanism that has been tested and certified to meet or exceed UL294 Special Locking Arrangements. Most are ANSI/BHMA 156.23 Grade 1 and UL10C. If the opening is labeled, be sure to install a UL10C Fire Rated product.
Signage requirements for delayed egress mechanisms using an exit device are the sign must be in both English and Braille. The sign must be within 12 inches of the exit device bar.
Two sections of the 2012 IBC reference delayed egress locks: 1008.1.9.6 Special locking arrangements in Group I-2 and 1008.1.9.7 Delayed egress locks. The Group I-2 occupancy includes buildings and structures used for medical, surgical, psychiatric, nursing or custodial care on a 24-hour basis of more than five persons who are not capable of self-preservation. This group shall include, but not be limited to hospitals, nursing homes, mental hospitals and detoxification facilities.
Security Door Controls, Model #1511S Exit Check Delayed Egress Emlock combines features of several different models and adds code compliance at a new lower price point.