In the event of an emergency, the last thing anyone wants is to be trapped in a building, by an escape door that fails to open. Many fire escape doors now incorporate electronic access control systems, which can malfunction in the event of a fire, or power failure.
Building owners must ensure that there is a ‘fail safe’ way of opening the escape door, in the event of an emergency.
As well as the risk of trapping building occupants, failure of electronically secured doors to open in the event of fire, can also hamper fire‑fighting and rescue operations.
To address this, BS7273-4:2015 exists as a UK code of practice, for the operation and release of electronically controlled escape doors. BS7273-4:2015 contains recommendations for the specification, installation, commissioning, and maintenance of the electrical control arrangements within electronically controlled escape doors.
The code of practice recommends how to actuate mechanisms that unlock, release or open doors, in the event of fire, in all buildings. BS7273-4:2015 applies to all aspects of the interface between the door mechanisms and a fire detection and fire alarm system, including interfaces that incorporate acoustic coupling and radio transmission.
Amendment to BS7273-4:2015
BS7273-4:2015 has recently been amended, and BS 7273-4:2015+A2:2023 is now the latest version of this code of practice. This latest version features commentary that aims to further enhance safety for building occupants, who may need to use electronically controlled escape doors, in the event of an emergency.
The standard now directly refers to ‘BS EN 13637 Building hardware – Electrically controlled exit systems for use on escape routes’ in respect of any electrically locked door on an escape route. A BS EN 13637 exit system permits the safe and unimpeded exit of a building’s occupant in the event of an emergency, whilst retaining the measures required to secure the escape door from unauthorised access.
As well as being installed correctly, it is important that the components within the exit system are regularly tested by a competent individual, to ensure that the door continues to operate in accordance with the manufacturers’ instructions.
For advice regarding BS7273-4:2015, and fire safety in relation to electronically controlled escape doors, please contact us.