Exit Doors – Delayed-Egress Locks


The locking arrangement on exit doors must be arranged to open readily in the direction of exit travel so that there is no interference with the orderly movement of people through any exit doors in the event of a fire or other emergency. The provisions of the Life Safety Code and Uniform Fire Code address features that may be essential for building security by permitting delayed-egress locks under certain conditions for specific types of building use. Delayed-egress locks prevent a door from being opened for 15 to 30 seconds. Delayed-egress locks are only permitted in buildings protected throughout by an approved automatic fire sprinkler or fire detection system. Criteria for delayed-egress locks include:

  • Shall unlock upon activation of the fire sprinkler system
  • Shall unlock upon activation of any heat detector or any one or two smoke detectors
  • Shall unlock upon the loss of power that controls the lock
  • Shall unlock within 15 seconds, or 30 seconds when approved by the AHJ, when the release device is held for more that 3 seconds
  • The force required to activate the release device must be less than 15 lbf
  • The release process for the lock shall activate an audible signal in the vicinity of the door
  • The door lock must be manually reset after being released
  • A sign must be provided on the door next to the release device indicating “Push Until Alarm Sounds” & “Door Can Be Opened In 15 Seconds”

The sign on the door provides assurance to the person attempting to exit the building that the door will be unlocked in 15 seconds. At the same time the 15 seconds helps to deter theft from the building. Operation of the release device for the lock does not open the door and the door is permitted to remain locked against entry into the building. [NFPA Life Safety Code]

Code Highlights