Enhanced Building Safety using modern Door Communication

Automatic doors generally fulfil various functions in building construction. This article will focus on how they can be controlled and monitored centrally and what possibilities are offered by modern building automation that incorporates all different disciplines.

Enhanced Building Safety using modern Door Communication
Fig. 1: In the new sales building for the crane manufacturer ABUS in Gummersbach, Germany, the automatic sliding door system at the main entrance and all smoke and heat extraction systems on the roof can be monitored and operated centrally. They are integrated into the building management technology via BACnet interface modules. (Source: ABUS Kransysteme GmbH)

January 2019 / By Ellen Schellinger. The automation of operating functions in building technology is taken for granted in the construction of new buildings. Functional processes are carried out automatically based on predefined settings in a coordinated manner. This includes e.g. lighting, the regulation of heating or the opening and closing of doors and windows. Building automation can take over responsibility for all of the monitoring, control, regulation and optimisation equipment in buildings. Monitoring and operation of the individual elements is carried out via the building management system. Using modern electronic network communication, the coordinated interplay between the individual elements from across the different disciplines is guaranteed in a central location. Behind all of this lies powerful software that can establish the logical connections. Buildings can thus be operated in a safer, more convenient, more efficient and energy-saving manner.

Multifunctional doors in building automation

Automatic doors with a wide variety of complex functions can also be controlled and monitored centrally. The safety functions offered by these types of multifunctional doors include the use of safety sensors, e.g. presence and movement detectors, and also access controls, fire and smoke detection and emergency exits control systems. If integrated into the building automation or the building management technology, the operating status of the emergency exits can be displayed and controlled remotely. In the event of an alarm, countermeasures can be immediately initiated and e.g. escape route protection (RWS) enabled. In order to open a door in an emergency situation, the electric locking function and swing door drive can be automatically controlled. Any incorrect operation, unauthorised use, misuse or manipulation of these RWS-secured doors is immediately displayed. The operating states of self-locking panic locks can also be called up and activated.

Enhanced Building Safety using modern Door Communication
Fig. 2: Multifunctional emergency exit in the cafeteria of the “Handicap Organisationernes Hus” in Høje-Taastrup near Copenhagen (Source: GEZE GmbH)

Multifunctional doors that are installed as fire protection doors, smoke protection doors and simultaneously as barrier-free escape route doors perform other tasks in the area of preventive fire protection. If the door drive systems and emergency exit controls are linked to the building manage ment technology, evacuation scenarios can be controlled in a targeted manner once the fire detection system has been triggered. The lighting and signs in the building can then be activated so that people are guided to the emergency exits without any impediments.

Fire protection doors that are electrically kept open using hold-open systems (“held open”) to enable barrier-free use can be closed from a central location. In the event of a fire, this will already prevent the smoke from the fire spreading before smoke detectors in other fire compartments are triggered.

Variable requirements

Integrating doors into a building management system is also recommended when varying requirements are placed on the operation and protective functions of automatic doors depending on the time of day. For example, if a retail store uses multifunctional doors during the day in various different modes of operation (“permanently open”, “automatic”, “exit only”) yet they function as escape and rescue route doors at night, the facility manager can also monitor and operate these doors, change the mode of operation or adjust the time-controlled functions from another branch. All processes performed on a door can be documented in a traceable and transparent manner in an event log.

Carefully coordinated planning

When planning the use of multifunctional doors in networked solutions, a particular focus must be placed on the communication between the different disciplines. The door functions saved in the software and the associated mechanical and technical control requirements already need to be precisely coordinated in advance so that a door behaves in the desired manner. It is only in this way, for example, that a door in permanently open mode will close if the sensor-controlled heating system starts working. The users and operators of a building, as well as architects, metalworkers, specialist safety fitters, fire protection experts, electrical installers and system integrators, need to be included in the planning process at the earliest possible stage to guarantee that the individual systems work together and deliver the optimal benefits.

A futuristic dream?

The networking of individual systems in building technology into a smart building will become standard in the future. Safe, efficient operation and convenient, intuitive use of the building functions are becoming increasingly important. The development of programs and algorithms that autonomously respond to environmental and usage conditions represents another step into the future.

Intelligent building control for smart technology

An example of a BACnet building automation system for building constructions is the GEZE Cockpit ( www.cockpit.geze.com ). By networking different disciplines in smart buildings, it offers new possibilities for the safe, convenient and energy-saving operation of buildings. It can be used to specifically monitor and reliably operate automated GEZE products from the areas of door, window and safety technology.

The system enables the full “intelligence” of the products to be utilised in the networked building: Yet the “intelligent” operation of doors and windows is only possible using software because data from other elements and subsystems can then be utilised, such as setting the extent to which a door is opened or opening and closing a window depending on the outdoor temperature in combination with temperature sensors and heating systems.

The exchange of data between building automation systems and the integrated doors and windows is carried out via BACnet – the most widely used open communication protocol in building automation.


Ellen Schellinger: Press and marketing officer at GEZE GmbH – developer and manufacturer of modern door, window and safety technology.

The article was published in FeuerTrutz International, issue 1.2018 (January 2018).
More information about eMagazine FeuerTrutz International

  • FeuerTrutz International

    Our free newsletter will regularly provide you with information on new issues of "FeuerTrutz International" and important news from the industry, the specialist media offers from Rudolf Müller Mediengruppe and products offered by our advertising partners. By providing my e-mail address and clicking on the button "send", I consent to you providing me with this information by e-mail. This consent is valid until it is withdrawn, which I am free to do at any time. I can deregister from the newsletter at any time via the unsubscribe link displayed in the newsletter.

    Fields marked with * are required

    Please take note of our Privacy Policy.