Take Caution When Installing Mag Locks in Alberta

The President of the Alberta Fire Safety Association (AFSA) is warning members in Alberta to follow proper procedure when installing mag locks.

The province is now insisting that mag locks must be installed under a Building Permit. In order to get a Building Permit you would need an engineer to be involved. Also the connection in to a fire alarm panel can only be done by a technician or electrician approved under the Alberta Fire Code to work on fire alarm systems.

The following is an excerpt from the Alberta Building Code with regards to the installation of mag locks:

4) Electromagnetic locks that do not incorporate latches, pins or other similar devices to keep the door in the closed position are permitted to be installed on exit doors other than doors leading directly from a high-hazard industrial occupancy, provided

a) the building is equipped with a fire alarm system,
b) the locking device, and all similar devices in the access to exit leading to the exit door, release upon actuation of the fire alarm signal,
c) the locking device releases immediately upon loss of power controlling the electromagnetic locking mechanism and its associated auxiliary controls,
d) the locking device releases immediately upon actuation of a manually operated switch readily accessible only to authorized personnel,
e) a force of not more than 90 N applied to the door opening hardware initiates an irreversible process that will release the locking device within 15 s and not relock until the door has been opened,
f) upon release, the locking device must be reset manually by the actuation of the switch referred to in Clause (d), and
g) a legible sign is permanently mounted on the exit door to indicate that the locking device will release within 15 s of applying pressure to the door-opening hardware.

(See Appendix A.)

A- -   Electromagnetic Lock
Electromagnetic locks are intended for use where there is a need for security additional to that provided by traditional exit hardware. They are not intended for indiscriminate use as alternative locking devices. The design of these devices requires evaluation to ensure that their operation will be fail-safe in allowing exiting in the event of foreseeable emergencies. If more than one locking device is used in a building, it is expected that one switch will release and reset all devices simultaneously.