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A156.15 - 2021 Release Devices – Closer Holder, Electromagnetic, and Electromechanical

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American National Standard for Release Devices – Closer Holder, Electromagnetic, and Electromechanical

Standard ANSI/BHMA A156.15-2015 establishes requirements for door closers combined with hold-open devices or free swinging door closers combined with releasing devices. It includes performance tests covering operational, cyclical and finish criteria. For further information, consult the full standard, ANSI/BHMA A156.15 for Release Devices – Closer Holder, Electromagnetic, and Electromechanical.

BHMA has created this series of Hardware Highlights to provide useful, accessible information about builders hardware for anyone with an interest in devices that hang, control, secure, and trim the doors. BHMA is the trade association which represents almost all of the North American manufacturers of builders hardware. One of its main activities since 1983 has been the development and maintenance of ANSI-approved standards for 35 separate product categories.

Product Performance: Purchasers of release devices certified to A156.15 ( can be assured products will perform to their expectations.

Below are an explanation and some examples of the evaluations conducted for certification:


These products allow swinging doors to close upon receiving a signal in fire or smoke emergencies. Performance tests verify critical related properties, such as closing force, release force, lack of creep, and door closer efficiency.


Building products are expected to last a long time, and builders hardware is no exception. Grade 1 release devices, for example, must pass a rigorous test through 100,000 cycles of opening and closing on a test door of a specified weight.


Descriptions, specifying numbers, and testing are provided for four more optional features: adjustable back-check, single point hold-open up to 180 degrees, multiple hold-open position, and adjustable hold-open intensity.


An additional duty of builders hardware is to be aesthetically attractive and stay that way. Resistance to corrosion is evaluated through a salt spray test to ASTM B117 providing confidence in the ongoing appearance of architectural metals and coatings.

Building Codes

Builders hardware provides several attributes that are essential to building safety and performance, including egress and fire protection. BHMA locksets are designed to comply with all applicable requirements. For example, hardware for fire doors is evaluated and listed to UL 10C by an accredited third-party testing laboratory.


Locks and latches contribute to building sustainability through their verified durability, as well as material characteristics such as recycled content and recyclability. The reliable closing and sealing of openings can also contribute to energy conservation. BHMA has developed Product Category Rules, which will further define sustainability requirements and guide life cycle assessments and environmental performance declarations.

Type Numbers​: Another significant contribution of standards for product specification is a numbering system for lock function. Please consult A156.15 for the full list; an example is provided here:

Electro-Magnetic and Electro-Mechanical Release Devices


Electro-magnetic door holder for swinging doors: wall mounted single unit.

This document is not a substitute for the full standard. Refer to the entire standard for full information.

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Participate in the BHMA® Certification Program by voluntarily submitting a hardware product to independent laboratory testing to confirm that it fully meets the criteria of the appropriate ANSI/BHMA® standard.  This industry-wide certification program does not call for a manufacturer to be a BHMA® member in order to certify its products.

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