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May 12 2016

Locks for Multi-Stall Restrooms

Category: Code Development,Egress,Locks & KeysLori @ 12:55 am Comments (12)

Multi-Stall ToiletI think I need a new category of posts that covers the obscure code requirements nobody has ever noticed before.  I also need a catchy name for this category so let me know if you think of something.

Lloyd Seliber found this one while browsing his copy of the 2015 IBC:

2902.3.5 Door locking. Where a toilet room is provided for the use of multiple occupants, the egress door for the room shall not be lockable from the inside of the room. This section does not apply to family or assisted-use toilet rooms.

This requirement was added to Chapter 29 – Plumbing Systems, in the 2012 edition of the IBC.  It’s a little different from most of the other door-related code requirements because it was not designed to ensure free egress, accessibility, or fire protection.  According to the IBC Commentary, the purpose of this requirement is to prevent people from locking themselves in the toilet room to create a safe haven for illicit activities.  The requirement does not apply to single occupancy restrooms.

I think this section may need to be tweaked a little because there could be locations where a facility would want an authorized person to be able to create a safe haven in a restroom – like this lock function that might be used for a school restroom.  Some education may also be required…I imagine that a plumbing inspector who is not familiar with locks could express concerns about the use of a classroom function deadbolt (interior thumbturn can retract the bolt for egress, but will not project the bolt to secure the room), even though it meets the intent of the code.

Have you run across something in a code book that made you go hmmmm?  Tell me about it!

Floor Plan:  Drummey Rosane Anderson, Inc.

12 Responses to “Locks for Multi-Stall Restrooms”

  1. lach says:

    “Breaking down the code”

  2. John Payson says:

    I could understand why the code should forbid locks which cannot be operated from outside using a key, but provided that keys would be kept somewhere accessible to emergency personnel what problem should there be with having a lock with a thumb-turn inside and a keyed entry outside?

    Also, is a rest room with one toilet, one sink, and one urinal, considered “single occupancy” even if it is large enough that two individuals who knew each other might use the toilet and urinal simultaneously?

    • Lori says:

      Hi John –

      If the room has both fixtures but no stalls, I think it would be considered a single restroom. I’m not a bathroom expert so I don’t know for sure but if I take my kid into a family bathroom (I’ve seen these with a small toilet in addition to the standard toilet), I need a privacy set.

      – Lori

  3. Ken Adkisson says:

    Sargent makes the 4878 mortise deadlock that has key cylinder outside, key cylinder inside and thumbturn inside to retract bolt.

  4. David Snell, AHC says:

    How about “Code Corner”. Used as a regular feature in the Door and Hardware magazine.

  5. David says:

    I LOVED Lloyds master key classes! Thank you!

  6. Eric T says:

    You already have WW and FF so how about “DD” (Door Dilemmas) or “HH” (Hardware Headaches).

  7. Tim says:

    I have done several jobs for the Navy and the City of Va. Beach where they have asked for just this. They put a double cylinder deadbolt on the openings so if the need arose they could lock it from the inside with a key. They wanted to make sure it was not able to be locked from the inside for just the reason you stated above; and they lock them up at night after everyone leaves.

  8. Jerry Richmond, AHC/CDC says:

    The code states “the egress door”… so, does this also imply multi-use/gang toilet doors must be out-swinging and not as shown in the example floor plan above?

    • Lori says:

      Hi Jerry –

      An egress door can be inswinging as long as it is serving an occupant load of less than 50 people (there are a few exceptions to this), so the doors are not required to be outswinging unless it is an EXTREMELY large restroom. 🙂

      – Lori

  9. Logan says:

    How about the Dead Sea Codes?

    Locking bathrooms in a school is not a good idea for all the same reasons improvised barriers are bad for classrooms. Much higher potential for seriously bad things to happen where teachers or law enforcement can’t easily get in.

  10. SJL says:

    So the Code requires that those restroom doors “shall not be lockable from the inside of the room” and at the same time they “shall be readily openable from the egress side without the use of a key or special knowledge or effort”. So, if a lock were used on the restroom door, then the code essentially REQUIRES the use of the classroom deadbolt (F29 function) if used with push/pull hardware! Or if a latch set is used, both the classroom latch (F05) or classroom holdback latch (F06) would seem appropriate.

    But I agree with you that an exception should be made to that Code to allow the door to be locked from the inside with a key. This would allow the F09 (outside key retracts latch only, inside key locks outside handle, inside handle always free), F32 (classroom security function), F33 (double cylinder deadbolt retracted by inside handle), or a double-cylinder classroom deadbolt (key required to lock it, but NOT to unlock it, from the inside). Those functions seem to be in the spirit of what the Code requires in that an ordinary person can’t lock the door from the inside. But they need to be designed to be lockable from inside the bathroom with the key without restricting free egress.

    But I also believe that a reference to Section 1010.1.9 should be made, so that the plumbing code provisions would not be mis-interpreted, so as to clarify that a lock that restricts free egress from the restroom shall NOT be installed. That means that a double-cylinder deadbolt or a single cylinder deadbolt without the unlock-only turnpiece cannot be used. Anytime I see that wrong application of that type of lock, I bring that to the attention of the management and possibly the building code official.

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