Locks and Latches on Doors

Q: In follow up to your articles on locks on doors, we are a mental health facility and have mag-locks operated by swipe cards / fobs. The same doors also have latching hardware operated by push bars and thumb releases. Is this in conflict with “no more than one releasing operation to operate the door”?

A: That is a good question… I would say a door that is equipped with magnetic locks and has basic latching hardware does qualify as a door with more than one action to operate the door. But, as I said many times, it doesn’t matter what I say… it matters what your authorities having jurisdiction (AHJ) say. While 7.2.1.5.10.4 of the 2012 LSC does allow two additional releasing operations for security devices, that only applies to individual living units and guest rooms of residential occupancies. That does not seem to apply to your situation.

Section 19.2.2.2.5.1 of the 2012 LSC allows doors in the path of egress to be locked where the clinical needs of the patients require specialized security measures. These sections of the LSC have been interpreted by most AHJs to be used only for psychiatric patients, or Alzheimer and dementia patients; It is not available for use in other areas of the hospital. So, the use of magnetic locks in the situation that you describe appears to be acceptable, but there is nothing in section 19.2.2.2.4 that allows more than one releasing action to operate the door. Therefore, I would say the combination locks and latches that you describe would not be permitted.

However, I encourage you to contact your state and local AHJs, and your accreditor and ask them if they would permit the arrangement that you describe. If all of them will allow it then you are good to go. But if any one AHJ does not allow it, then you cannot have the locks and latches on the door. Make sure you maintain all the replies from the AHJs in writing for future reference.