Hold-open system for fire door

Hold-open systems ensure closing in case of fire and provide more comfort in daily use.

Wartung Brandschutztüre

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16 February 2021 Fire Safety

Hold-open systems: a reliable, convenient solution for fire doors and gates

Fire doors and gates are of central importance for preventive fire protection in buildings: In the event of fire, they protect special rooms, necessary corridors and hall crossings against the passage of flames, heat and smoke. 

The safe use of escape and rescue routes and keeping attack routes clear for rescue forces are also elementary tasks of these fire protection closures. To fulfill their purpose, fire doors and fire gates must be self-closing. This means that they must be closed again after each passage.

This is impractical in day-to-day operations: forklifts need to be able to move freely, and copy rooms, kitchenettes and corridors need to be accessible without having to open doors. Constantly opening and closing doors is considered a nuisance. For this reason, fire doors and gates are often overridden - wedged open, tied tightly or blocked with a box of copy paper. These manipulations are not only life-threatening and impermissible, but also punishable by law in Germany (§ 145 Para. 2 No. 2 StGB).

Automatic hold-open systems prevent such problems. On the one hand, they keep fire doors and gates open. On the other, they automatically close the fire doors and gates in the event of a fire so that they can fulfill their protective function.

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Where the installation of hold-open systems makes sense

They are particularly recommended in buildings with busy operations and public traffic. This means almost everywhere: offices, factories, schools, medical practices, retirement homes, stores and places of assembly. 

The installation of hold-open systems is not mandatory. Nevertheless, according to the experience of our CWS Fire Safety experts, their installation makes a lot of sense. The main arguments are the improvement of the operational process, more comfort as well as more freedom of movement for people and equipment. All three aspects help to prevent dangerous manipulation of doors and gates and thus optimize fire protection in the plant.

How hold-open systems can be retrofitted

Wartung Brandschutztüre

Hold-open systems usually consist of slide rail systems. These can generally be retrofitted without any problems. Power supply, door hold-open and fire alarm are already integrated. As a result, slide rail systems are compact; they have a visually appealing appearance.

In production areas, magnetic hold-open systems can also be a sensible alternative. These are used almost exclusively for large fire doors. 

Considering the risks of tampering and repair costs of damaged fire doors and gates, a professional retrofit of a hold-open system will quickly pay for itself. 

What all belongs to a hold-open system

The hold-open systems essentially consist of 

  • hold-open device 
  • fire detector 
  • manual release button
  • power supply
  • acoustic and optical signal transmitter (for gates)
  • possibly holding magnet, anchor plate

How hold-open systems in fire doors and gates work

If the fire detector detects a fire, the detector interrupts the power supply, the hold-open device is released, the door or gate is released and closes. In the case of double-leaf doors, the additional closing sequence control ensures that the moving leaf is held until the fixed leaf is closed. In this way, the hold-open system prevents the spread of flames and smoke - the protection goal is achieved. 

Manual release buttons are also installed in a clearly visible position near the fire protection closure. They enable fire doors and gates to be triggered manually even if a fire is suspected. In addition, the buttons prevent damage to the hold-open system caused by forcible closing attempts by tearing at the door. 

Holding magnets for locking are usually only used on industrial doors. We do not recommend them for doors. On the one hand, for optical reasons. On the other hand, holding magnets fixed to the floor with brackets can become a tripping hazard. 

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Which specifications must be observed when installing hold-open systems 

As fire protection closures, fire doors and gates require approval by the building authorities (DIBt approval). The same applies to hold-open systems. If these are newly installed together with doors and gates, expert service technicians such as ours ensure that all components are approved for joint installation. The DIBt guidelines are primarily relevant; we also take into account the European standard for hold-open systems EN 14637. 

The retrofitting of hold-open systems means a modification to fire doors. The planned redesign of the door must comply with the options allowed by the DIBt regulations. Operators, usually the user of the premises or the employer, have to check this in advance. CWS Fire Safety can assist you with this complex task. 

We also advise you on the selection of the appropriate product. Beforehand, we consider with you whether the hold-open system should be connected to the fire alarm system, for example, and networked with other safety systems in your building. 

How to check and maintain hold-open systems

In principle, anyone may install a hold-open system, provided they comply with the building inspectorate specifications and those of the manufacturer. They must be approved before they are put into operation for the first time. The operator must arrange for this inspection. Either the manufacturer of the hold-open system or authorized specialists may carry out the acceptance inspection before the first commissioning. Our service technicians are qualified accordingly.

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After successful acceptance, a sign with the acceptance date must be attached. The operator receives documentation. This can be presented to the insurance company, authorities and fire department. 

During operation, a functional test is due once a month. This task may be performed by the operator. 

Once a year, the system must be inspected and serviced by a specialist. In addition to the function, the documentation is checked, components are replaced preventively if necessary, and detectors and power supply are tested. Details on maintenance, functional testing and requirements for the specialist can be found in DIN 14677 and EN 14637. The operator usually commissions a competent service provider such as CWS Fire Safety with these tasks.

Hold-open systems for safe fire doors and gates

Do you have any questions about hold-open systems? Write to us, we will be happy to advise you with our comprehensive expertise.

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