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A156.29 - 2017 Exit Locks, Exit Alarms, Alarms for Exit Devices

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American National Standard for Exit Locks, Exit Alarms, Alarms for Exit Devices

ANSI/BHMA A156.29-2017 establishes requirements for Exit Locks, Exit Alarms and Alarms for Exit Devices and includes operational and finish tests. Alarms for Exit Devices include operational tests only. For further information consult the full standard, ANSI/BHMA A156.29 for Exit Locks, Exit Alarms, Alarms for Exit Devices.

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

Product Performance: Purchasers of exit locks, exit alarms, and alarms for exit devices certified to A156.29 ( can be assured products will perform to their expectations.

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


Exit locks are subjected to tests for operation (no greater than 15 pounds force required), durability (100,000 cycles), emergency operation (to overcome a 20 pound force), a key cylinder operation test, and an outside pull test.


Alarms are confirmed to be suitable for their rigorous commercial applications through a set of tests including cycling, slamming, and electrical immunity compliance through three levels of IEC 61000 testing.


An additional duty of builders hardware is to be aesthetically attractive, and stay that way. Resistance to corrosion and other types of degradation is confirmed through a full array of challenges including salt spray, humidity, chemicals, and UV light.

Building Codes

Builders hardware provides several attributes that are essential to building safety and performance including egress and fire protection. When used in fire door assemblies, they shall be listed for use in fire doors by a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL) and shall be under an in-plant follow-up inspection service.


Exit locks and alarms 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 closer types. Please consult A156.29 for the full list; some examples are provided here:

Exit Lock E0421

For out swinging single doors. Surface applied. Activated by arm, push plate or paddle assembly. Outside key control furnished when specified. Includes powered sounding device when set by inside key, sounds when door is opened. Has dead bolt or latch bolt with either surface or mortise strike. Furnished with a silent alarm indicated at remote panel in a low voltage system if specified.

Exit Alarm E0411

Armed and disarmed by an inside control key. Allows authorized entry or exit by means of an on and off key switch or electronic circuitry. When armed, unauthorized use activates powered sounding device. If specified it shall 1) be connected to a remote indicating panel, or 2) be mounted separate from the door and activated by a door movement switch, or 3) be furnished with an outside control key, or 4) rearm automatically after authorized use.

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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