A couple of weeks ago my youngest daughter was asked to be in a play, which was performed in the social hall of a church in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.  I’ve grown accustomed to a lack of egress compliance in a country that doesn’t really have many code requirements or much enforcement.  What I actually noticed first was the recessed electromagnetic lock installation on the decorative security gate – a fairly high-tech Fixed-it Friday solution for this colonial town.

Looking from the far end of the hall toward the exit…the room was set up with more than 49 chairs, and the only exit is the arched pair at the opposite end.  In the US, there would have to be a second exit because of the occupant load, with outswinging doors and panic hardware.  At least one leaf of the pair would have to provide 32 inches of clear opening width.

A closer look at the exit…there must be some level of code enforcement, because the exit signs are very common in public buildings.  They are not required to be lighted signs, and emergency lighting is not mandated.

The mag-lock, armature, and door loop…the only release devices for this lock are a keypad on the outside and a push button in the church office.  The US model codes would require either a sensor and push button on the egress side (plus fire alarm release), or a switch in the door-mounted hardware to release the mag-lock.  The lock is also required to unlock upon power failure.  Here’s a video on the codes for mag-locks if you need a refresher.

Looking toward the other end of the room…

Don’t head this way in an emergency…

If you are fortunate enough to be in a jurisdiction with strong codes and good enforcement, count your blessings!  And continue to look for the issues, so they can be corrected.

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