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BCC Ruling No. 93-3-359

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IN THE MATTER OF BUT NOT LIMITED TO: Ontario Building Code, O/Reg. 413/90 as amended

PARTS, Electro Magnetic Locks


In favour of the Applicant.

Regarding General Motors of Canada, Chassis Plan (South Plant), 800 Park Street South, Oshawa, Ontario.

It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that the requirements of the Code are met in the matter of electromagnetic locking devices that conform to the Code and providing there is compliance to the following:

  1. The red manual pull station to the fire alarm system located on the wall not more than 600 mm (23 5/8 in.) from the door, shall be so installed that in addition to activating the fire alarm system, this pull station shall release the electromagnetic locking device on the adjacent door, and this does not restrict the addition of other security release switches where desired, and

  2. where there is a "two stage single or multi zone" fire alarm system, locking devices need not be released on the first stage "alert" from the two stage fire alarm system, and

  3. where there is a "two stage single or multi zone" fire alarm system, locking devices within those leading from the zone of activation to the exit(s) shall release immediately on the second stage "alarm" of the two stage fire alarm system, and

  4. authorized personnel shall be able to release the locking devices on any door(s) from a location within or adjacent to the zone of activation by a manually operated switch, and

    1. All electromagnetic locking devices shall be designed and installed to operate as per the requirements of "Lighting and Emergency Power Supply" of the Code, and

    2. the electromagnetic locking devices shall fail safe open on a failure of the primary building power supply, the emergency building power supply and the emergency power to the fire alarm panel where provided, and

    3. the electromagnetic locking devices can only be reset manually or remotely by authorized personnel, and

    1. U.L.C. Standards require that the fire alarm system continue to detect alarm conditions and operate normally under a single ground fault condition such as the common trouble circuits, and

    2. if the electromagnetic locking devices have been designed to immediately release only if there is a double ground fault on the fire alarm detection circuit equivalent to the operation of detection device that would cause the fire alarm system to activate, this design will be considered to have sufficiency of compliance.

  5. Signage is only required for the required red manual pull stations on electromagnetic locked exit doors and does not prohibit the addition of other signs where desired.


  1. The electromagnetic locking devices will only be installed on the doors to two small office areas which will only operate after normal office hours and on the door to the autogate that leads via a bridge to the parking area and is not a required exit.

  2. All building occupants are trained in the use of fire and security pull stations, and

  3. There is sufficient security personnel that would be available to investigate any first stage fire alarm signal.


That the Ontario Buildings Branch should assemble a meeting of all concerned parties to review and amend the Code requirements for all electromagnetic locking devices.