Life Safety Code – NFPA 101 Laws Covering “Single-Motion Egress Locks”



(Note: Some of the following excerpts from NFPA 101 have been paraphrased for the purpose of clarity.)

The primary clarification of NFPA 101 that refer to locks on doors in the means of egress is: The releasing mechanism “shall open the door leaf with not more than one releasing operation.”

This means that:

1)    You cannot have two locks on a means of egress door unless they can be opened from the egress side with one manual motion.

2)    You cannot have a combination lock and a leverset on a means of egress door (whether or not the combo lock is “normally open”) if you need two unlocking motions to exit.

NOTE: This represents a major shift from the “old philosophy” that combination locks are always considered to be unlocked when a room is occupied, or when the “safety pin” on the combination lock is used. 

3)    The same rules apply to a deadbolt and a leverset on a means of egress door.

4)    In addition to the two releasing motions prohibition, any door that has two locks either inside or outside of the means of egress must have “locks that have an obvious method of operation and that are readily operated under all lighting conditions.”  As an example, an CDX-10 combination lock clearly does not have an obvious method of operation from the egress side regardless of lighting conditions.  A latch or other fastening device on a door leaf shall be provided with a releasing device that has an “obvious method of operation” and that is “readily operated” under all lighting conditions.

When dealing with the need to have a combination lock (mechanical or GSA approved electronic) and a leverset, or other exit device, on the same door you currently have one choice.  You should use the GSA FF-L-2890B approved Sargent and Greenleaf S&G 2890B single motion egress lock combined with either the S&G 2740B or the Kaba Mas X-10 electronic combination lock or remove one lock from the door.

The single motion egress deadbolt must work on both out-swinging doors and in-swinging doors.  This is particularly important because there are NFPA 101 exceptions that allow certain “in-swinging doors” to be included in the means of egress. Doors leaves required to be of the side-hinged or pivoted-swinging type shall swing in the direction of egress travel where serving a room or area with an occupant load of 50 or more.

The S&G 2890B series locks will work on both out-swinging and in-swinging doors.  Additionally the S&G 2890B accepts either the S&G 2740B or Kaba Mas X-10 GSA approved electronic combination locks. (This meets the DoD/ FED STD FF-L-2740B and FF-L-2890B requirement for open storage of classified information).