Code Violations: What You Should Know

Authored by InstaKey

Authored by Katie Miller, Director of Marketing at LockNet


LockNet’s Service Manager would regularly field calls from technicians in which they would call with concerns about code violations they saw in the field. Once, a technician sent this picture in:

If you are a Facilities Manager, I bet your blood would start to boil if you realized one of your locations had a stock room that looked like this. Not only is it completely disorganized and a great way to lose inventory, it is also a huge safety hazard.

NFPA life safety code requires that all exits be clear and accessible. You would be hard pressed to get out of this room in an emergency.

Unfortunately, this is not the only type of issue we see. There are many different types of code violations that our technicians come across on a daily basis.


What Are The Codes For Doors and Locks?

 The two main families of codes that you need to concern yourself with are ADA codes and NFPA life safety code.

ADA code dictates things such as the type of lock sets and deadbolts you can use, where viewing windows must be positioned, and the ease with which doors should open.

NFPA life safety code covers topics that ranging from the proper use of delayed egress hardware to fire-rated doors.

Both sets of codes are extensive and can be a bit cumbersome to get through. To give you a head start, we have compiled a list of some of the most common code violations we come across.


Five Common Code Violations

  1. Improper Application of Delayed Egress Hardware

Delayed egress hardware is a great way to deter theft. However, before you install it, be sure you brush up on all of the rules and regulations in regards to its proper application.

For instance, if the delayed egress hardware isn’t tied directly into your fire system, you will get nailed with fines from your local fire marshal. This is because the doors need to allow immediate egress in the event of an emergency.

If you want to install delayed egress hardware, be sure to check with your local Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) to get the green light. If you have multiple locations across the region, you will need to confer with each jurisdiction’s AHJ. Some may allow it, and some may not.

  1. Blocked Exits

This is one of the most common code violations we see. NFPA code mandates that all exits are both clear and accessible.

It’s very easy for employees to leave a box, cart, or trash in front of an exit door. It’s important to make employees aware of the liability this causes, both safety-wise and finance-wise.

  1. Locked Exits

Just as exits must be clear and accessible, they must also be unlocked during business hours.

If you have an exit door you feel needs additional security, do not install auxiliary locking hardware. Instead, install alarms or delayed egress hardware (if allowed). There are numerous ways to increase security of exit doors without creating code violations.

  1. Knob Lock Sets

ADA code 404.2.7 requires that lock sets have a “shape that is easy to grasp with one hand without requiring tight grasping or twisting of the wrist to operate.” This means no knob lock, as Knob sets require both tight grasping and twisting of the wrist.

Instead, install lever sets. To operate a lever, you simply need to depress the lever, so no special operation is required.

  1. Improper Mag Lock Application

Like delayed egress hardware, mag locks have a host of restrictions. There are numerous codes and regulations in regards to mag locks.

Mag locks can be a little tricky when it comes to complying with code. If your local Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) allows you to install a mag lock, he/she will require electrical plans and permits.

With a multitude of codes, finding appropriate applications for a mag lock can be a little difficult. They work really well when it comes to integration into access control systems as well as in facilities that don’t handle a lot of free egress. Detention centers and correctional facilities are two examples of facilities where mag locks would work well.

That said, if you strongly feel that a mag lock is the right hardware for your facility, check with your local AHJ(s) to ensure it is allowed.

Now is a great time to check out your facilities for these code violations. Are there other violations you come across? We’d love to hear about them and what you did to resolve them!

A version of this post originally appeared on LockNet’s blog, LockBytes.