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Jul 05 2015

Delayed Egress Timer

Category: Egress,Electrified HardwareLori @ 6:41 am Comments (14)
Chexit Delayed Egress

In this application the AHJ has approved a 30-second delay. Photo: Parsons – Aviation IT and Security Services (click photo to visit their site)

A delayed egress lock is a device which prevents egress for a period of time, while sounding an audible alarm.  The typical time delay is 15 seconds, although a 30-second delay is allowed if approved by the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ).  There are other criteria that must be met, like signage, emergency lighting, and immediate release upon fire alarm (there are more criteria listed here).

To initiate the 15-second timer, a force of not more than 15 pounds must be applied for up to 3 seconds, according to the 2015 International Building Code (IBC) and NFPA 101 – The Life Safety Code.  Prior editions of the IBC required a 1-second application of force.

The way I’ve always interpreted this is there is an initiation time of 1-3 seconds (depending on the device settings), plus the 15 seconds to release the device, or a total of up to 18 seconds between the time a building occupant reaches the door and the time they’re able to open the door and exit.  Recently someone mentioned that the AHJ used a stop-watch to time the cycle on their delayed egress hardware, and said that because the total time was more than 15 seconds (it was 18 seconds), it was a violation.

I checked with the ICC and NFPA for a code opinion, and both staff members acknowledged that the codes do not address this specific issue, so it would be left up to the AHJ.  One made a good point – the time to initiate the timer and the time to release the device should be two separate periods (for a total of 18 seconds, maximum) because the initiation time could be 1, 2, or 3 seconds.  If the code required a total time of 15 seconds, then the release time would have to compensate for the initiation-time settings, and release after 14, 13, or 12 seconds.  That would be complicated, and we’re talking about 3 seconds here – probably not a life-or-death issue.

How have you seen this interpreted?  15 seconds total, or 3 seconds activation time + 15 seconds until release?

Photo: Parsons – Aviation IT and Security Services

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14 Responses to “Delayed Egress Timer”

  1. Cda says:

    Sounds like the person is a little picky.

    Sounds like the time should start once the alarm sounds. To me that indicates the system has started working

    Item 4 specifies the operational characteristics of the locking control device that is similar to a panic device. A user must apply a minimum 15-pound (67 N) force to the release device for at least 1 second, at which time an audible alarm will sound and the device will automatically start to unlock the door. The 1-second duration is to prevent initiation of the unlocking process because of an inadvertent bump or accidental contact against the device. The unlocking cycle is irreversible; once it is started, it does not stop. Once the cycle starts, the door is required to be unlocked in no more than 15 seconds. When the door is unlocked at the end of the 15-second delay, it stays unlocked until someone comes to the door and manually relocks it. A method of automatically relocking the door from a remote location such as a central control station or security office is not permitted; therefore, the first users to the door may face a delay, but after that other users would be able to exit immediately.

    The exception will permit the building official to allow the time delay prior to opening to be increased beyond the basic 15 seconds, but never to the point where the delay would exceed 30 seconds.

    If a user continues to exert the 15-pound (67 N) force for more than 1 second, the door is required to be openable after 15 seconds from the start of the force application.

  2. Lapointe says:

    I think the code needs to be revised, or the hardware needs to comply with the code. 3 seconds may have a minuscule tiny fraction of a chance of being a life and death issue. But in that improbable chance. If it did happen, a lawyer would have a very good case in court. Someone would definitely be held criminally negligent, under the current code.

    I see this as black and white.

  3. Cda says:

    But the release time can be up to thirty

    There has to be a starting point, for when the clock starts.

    How is it known the release sequence has started ??? To me, the work sounds

    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.

  4. Cda says:

    First I have heard about NUISANCE delay time

    Wonder if it is a UL thing ???

    NUISANCE DELAY TIME – A Nuisance Delay Time helps avoid inadvertent activation. The alarm will sound when the touchbar is pressed, but the alarm sequence will not start unless the touch bar is held in for more than the Nuisance Delay Time. Delay Time is field selectable for 0, 1, 2 or 3 seconds.

    • Lori says:

      The nuisance delay is a feature that prevents the device from going into alarm (and causing a nuisance) when someone bumps it or pushes on it not realizing that it is alarmed. If the nuisance delay is turned on and you bump the device, it will momentarily sound the alarm but will not start the 15-second timer unless you push on it for a longer period.

  5. Joe says:

    I’ve been under the impression that the nuisance delay time is included in the total delay time. I know some delayed egress products specifically include language regarding this in their description of how their products work.

  6. Rhino says:

    One second should be the maximum time delay. Three seconds is way too long for most people today – they’ll think it defective if it doesn’t do something immediately. Several years ago we did a presentation for the local fire marshals and 15 seconds seemed like an eternity to them. Some of them vowed to never allow delayed egress in their respective jurisdictions. 30 seconds is way too long, unless there is some pretty compelling circumstances.

  7. liberty says:

    We use these to control access in card in, card out situations.

    • Lori says:

      That’s a good use of this type of product as long as the door is not serving Assembly, Educational, or High Hazard (if you’re using the IBC).

      – Lori

  8. STEVE says:

    In my install days, the 15 seconds started once the nuisance time has run it’s cycle.
    I always used that frame of mind because anytime during the nuisance cycle that you let go…the unit stays armed.

  9. Rich says:

    I have installed several VD99 Chex-it devices and the nuisance delay is part of the 15 seconds on the ones I have timed. You touch the bar and the time starts. If you let go of the bar in less than the nuisance delay, the timer stops. I have always had the bar sounder make noise during the nuisance delay (programmable option). I can’t see a reason for a silent nuisance delay. If you hold the bar in and the delay expires, there is a slight change in the tone and the red light flickers once. At this point, the door will be open after the total 15 second time runs out. I can’t remember a 3 second nuisance delay time. I was thinking 2 is the standard for VD99CX. When we were considering a 30 second delay, it would have required a special board from the factory. That part is not field select-able. The standard is 15 seconds. Separate note, the decal on the door says push until alarm sounds; door can be opened in 15 seconds. Just a bit of room for interpretation there.

    • Lori says:

      The BHMA Codes & Government Affairs Committee talked about the sign language while we were working on code change proposals recently. If the nuisance alarm is on, then the signage isn’t completely accurate because when you touch the bar you hear an audible alarm, but the door is not going to open in 15 seconds unless you hold the bar long enough to actuate the timer. I was thinking it should say “Push until alarm sounds continuously…” or something like that. Maybe I should have a contest to come up with the best wording. 🙂

      – Lori

  10. Rich says:

    Just a couple of additional notes. We have two of these devices installed in a manner that they can be turned on and off remotely for day to day use. However, if one is triggered into alarm, you do need to go to the device to shut it up and to reset the timer.
    I once had to install two of these in a manner that the fire dept could enter through the delay doors. VD99CX does not work with an outside key or lever when armed. We installed Knox boxes with tamper switches in them wired to inhibit the CX99. Open the box to get the key and the device automatically released the delay and the key would work.

    • Lori says:

      Thanks Rich! That’s an interesting idea. You probably know this, but on the mortise Chexit the lever trim will operate independently even when the device is armed, so you can use it when free access is needed, or when you want to control the outside lever with a key or access control.

      – Lori

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