There is some confusion surrounding the use of multiple delayed egress locks in a means of egress – in part because of variations between the codes:
- NFPA 101 does not limit the number of delayed egress locks in a means of egress, except in Lodging and Rooming Houses, where there is a limit of one delayed egress lock per escape path.
- Prior to the 2015 edition, the IBC stated: “A building occupant shall not be required to pass through more than one door equipped with a delayed egress lock before entering an exit.” This means that there could be a delayed egress lock on a door entering a stair enclosure (an exit), and an additional delayed egress lock on the exit discharge leading to the exterior.
- The 2015 edition of the IBC changed the language slightly, stating: “The egress path from any point shall not pass through more than one delayed egress locking system.” With this change, only one delayed egress lock is allowed in the path of egress, so a delayed egress lock on the door leading into the stairwell and another one on the exit discharge door would not be code-compliant.
- The 2015 IBC also includes an exception for Use Groups I-2 and I-3, where the egress path can pass through two delayed egress locks as long as the combined delay is not more than 30 seconds.
The IBC also limits the number of doors with controlled egress locks (these are different from delayed egress locks and are only found in health care occupancies) – to one controlled egress lock before entering an exit. I have been asked whether it’s acceptable to use one delayed egress lock and one controlled egress lock in a path of egress. When I checked with the ICC I was told that technically it is not prohibited by the IBC, but I think it would be wise to check with the AHJ before installing these devices.
So…assuming that the number of delayed egress locks is limited to one per egress path for your project, and you have an application where you really need two delayed egress locks, is it acceptable to install two delayed egress locks where initiating one device simultaneously starts the 15-second timer on the second device?
For example, if we go back to our stairwell example, let’s imagine that the delayed egress lock on the exit discharge is needed to prevent unauthorized egress from the first floor into the stairwell and out to the exterior. Another delayed egress lock is needed on the 5th floor to prevent unauthorized access to the stairwell. Would it meet the intent of the code to have the actuation of the 5th-floor timer also begin the countdown on the ground-floor timer, so there is immediate egress through the 1st-floor door after the 5th-floor door is released?