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Maglock stands for electromagnetic lock. As the name suggests, it is essentially a huge magnet that holds the door shut.

  • What makes the maglock different for the user is that the magnet needs to be released to not only enter a room but also to exit a room or building.
  • This may not seem like a big deal, but as you will see below, the risk of being locked into a building can be very serious during a fire or other emergency.
  • That is why it is so crucial that you follow the proper regulations if you need to use a maglock. 

Installing a maglock without a permit is:

  1. Illegal.
  2. A hazard to everyone who enters the building (for the reasons mentioned above). 

This permit requires many regulations and precautions to be followed. When these are taken into consideration, an adequately installed maglock is exponentially more expensive than an electric strike.

Maglock Requirements:

The Ontario Building Code Section covers the requirements for maglocks and can be referenced for full specifications. To briefly summarize, maglocks require:

  • A dedicated building permit with the City of Toronto (or the municipality of your building).
  • Building floor plans and an engineered schematic of the proposed system.
  • The building must have a fire alarm system, and a manual fire alarm pull station located near the door that provides a redundant connection to the maglock.
  • The maglock must be tied to the fire panel and released immediately if activated.
  • There must be signage on the door stating that the door will unlock, as well as emergency lighting at the door.
  • The maglock must release immediately upon a power loss to the fire panel, maglock power supply, or a fault in the electrical circuit.
  • After a fire alarm, the doors need to be manually reset to lock (this requires building operator intervention to secure your doors).
  • Finally, maglocks are not allowed in specific building types like elementary schools or high-hazard workplaces.

If your maglock is not installed as per OBC or if it is installed without a permit, the door should be considered a life-threatening safety hazard to everyone in the building.

Should you currently have a maglock without following these specifications, it should be immediately powered off, then with the assistance of a professional engineer, brought up to appropriate code or replaced with an electric strike.