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Last edited 20 Nov 2020
Fire doors are important in terms of providing proper fire separation, and preventing the spread of fire and smoke, but in some situations, it may be inconvenient or undesirable for fire doors to be closed all the time. Closed doors can negatively impact upon the inhabitants, such as in a care home or school, or can present hazards where there is busy traffic circulation.
A hold-open device can be installed to hold the door leaves in the open position until they are released, either manually or in the event of a fire, at which point the door closes via the closing force of a ‘door closer’.
The operation of a hold-open device comprises:
- A trigger mechanism that processes the signals issued by the fire alarm.
- A fire alarm.
- A hold-open mechanism – such as a hardwired electromagnet or suitable acoustic device.
- Power supply - mains supplied or battery.
Devices should have a manual release mechanism so that the doors can be manually closed if necessary.
Hold open devices should comply with BS 7273-4:2015 Code of practice for the operation of fire protection measures – part 4: Actuation of release mechanisms for doors. This standard categorizes products into three installation categories; Standard, Indirect & Critical
- Activation of a fire alarm via smoke, heat, or other fire detection equipment.
- Manual activation of a fire alarm.
- Mechanical fault (fail-safe)
- Loss of power to the device (fail-safe)
Current guidance restricts the use of hold-open devices to applications where there is an automatic fire detection and warning system which incorporates smoke detectors, and which is designed to protect the building’s escape routes.
 Find out more
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Automatic fire detection and alarm systems, an introductory guide to components and systems BR 510.
- Automatic release mechanism.
- Door closer.
- Fire detection and alarm systems.
- Fire door.
- Fire Door Inspection Scheme.
- Fire safety design.
- Fire stopping.
- Free-swing door closer.
- Installing fire doors and doorsets (GG 86).
- Means of escape.
- Self-closing device.
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