Delayed Egress Applications For Hospitals

Delayed egress locking mechanisms can provide an additional level of safety for newborn and infants in the nursery and for and patients in psychiatric wards or Alzheimer’s units.

1008.1.9.6 “Approved special egress locks shall be permitted in a Group I-2 occupancy where the clinical needs of persons receiving care require such locking. Special egress locks shall be permitted in such occupancies where the building is equipped throughout with an automatic sprinkler system in accordance with Section 903.3.1.1 or an approved automatic smoke or heat detection system installed in accordance with Section 907, provided that the doors are installed and operate in accordance with Items 1 through 7.

1. The doors unlock upon actuation of the automatic sprinkler system or automatic fire detection system.

2. The doors unlock upon loss of power controlling the lock or lock mechanism.

3. The door locks shall have the capability of being unlocked by a signal from the fire command center, a nursing station or other approved location.

4. A building occupant shall not be required to pass through more than one door equipped with a special egress lock before entering an exit.

5. The procedures for the operation(s) of the unlocking system shall be described and approved as part of the emergency planning and preparedness required by Chapter 4 of the International Fire Code.

6. All clinical staff shall have the keys, codes or other means necessary to operate the locking devices.

7. Emergency lighting shall be provided at the door.”

For our purposes, most of 2012 IBC 1008.1.9.7 is contained in 1008.1.9.6. However, items 4 through 6 contain additional information:

“4. The initiation of an irreversible process which will release the latch in not more than 15 seconds when a force of not more than 15 pounds (67 N) is applied for 1 second to the release device. Initiation of the irreversible process shall activate an audible signal in the vicinity of the door. Once the door lock has been released by the application of force to the releasing device, relocking shall be by manual means only.

Exception: Where approved, a delay of not more than 30 seconds is permitted.

5. A sign shall be provided on the door located above and within 12 inches (305 mm) of the release device reading: PUSH UNTIL ALARM SOUNDS. DOOR CAN BE OPENED IN 15 [30] SECONDS.

6. Emergency lighting shall be provided at the door.”


Locking Mechanisms

Delayed egress locking mechanisms are available in two configurations as delayed egress electromagnetic locks and delayed egress exit devices. Delayed egress electromagnetic locks are available self-contained and as multiple components including the lock, logic controller, etc. An exit device is normally used with delayed egress electromagnetic locks to control egress.

Delayed egress electromagnetic lock manufacturers include BEA, Detex, DORMA, Dynalock, ROFU, RCI, Schlage, Seco-Larm, SDC and Securitron. Consult the device manufacturer for specific product information. Product and company listings can be found in our Online Buyers Guide at

Self-contained delayed egress exit devices contain the electronics within the rail assembly of the device. Delayed egress exit devices are normally available as rim, mortise and vertical rod models.

Delayed egress exit device manufacturers include Alarm Lock, Corbin Russwin, DORMA, Falcon, Precision Hardware, SARGENT, SDC and Von Duprin. Consult the device manufacturer for specific product information.

Ingress can require operational exterior trim and/or electronic access control. Operating the exterior trim may activate the delayed egress alarm. An electronic access control input will release the locking mechanism without activating the alarm if the proper devices are installed. For example, an opening equipped with a delayed egress rim exit device can have a surface-mounted electric strike or a magnetic lock.

Important: All delayed egress lock installations must be prior approved in writing by the local Authority Having Jurisdiction (LAHJ).


Hospital Case Study

For this article, we will discuss the Security Door Controls (SDC) 1511S Exit Check® Delayed Egress Electromagnetic Lock and the SARGENT 57-80 Series delayed action exit device installed onto exit doors to prevent unauthorized egress. This delayed egress system had been previously installed on the ward door.

A delayed egress opening in a behavioral medical facility is equipped with a patented SDC 1511S Exit Check® Delayed Egress Electromagnetic Lock, an electrified hinge, an Emhart/Russwin Door Closer and a SARGENT 3828 Rim Exit Device used to mechanically latch the door. Activation of the 1511S Delayed Egress Electromagnetic Lock can occur by placing pressure against the door for longer than the set nuisance delay.

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