Facilitating access

Improving the safety of electric drives for gates, doors and windows in homes

By Morand Fachot

Easier access to homes and grounds has been made possible over the years with the widespread introduction of electrically-operated gates, doors and windows. The safe operation of these appliances that require special drives is essential. As new devices are being launched in this domain, a revised edition of an existing International Standard has been published to ensure that easier access to homes remains safe.

Revolving door Revolving door

IEC TC (Technical Committee) 61: Safety of household and similar electrical appliances, has published Edition 2.1 of IEC 60335-2-103, Household and similar electrical appliances – Safety – Part 2-103: Particular requirements for drives for gates, doors and windows. This consolidated version of IEC 60335-2-103 consists of the second edition (2006) and of its amendment 1 (2010).

Comprehensive scope

The scope of this International Standard is wide-ranging. It deals with the safety of electric drives for horizontally- and vertically-moving gates, doors and windows for household and similar purposes. The drives covered are those for folding doors, revolving doors, rolling doors, roof windows, sectional overhead doors and swinging and sliding gates or doors.

This standard extends beyond homes as it covers also appliances intended to be used by members of the public in shops, offices, hotels, restaurants, hospitals, in industry and on farms. It also lists requirements for drives for doors that may be used in emergency routes and exits.

Wide domain

This revised International Standard covers a very wide range of issues, not only electrical safety, but also the safe installation and operation of these devices, such as the handling of heavy drives, the height of installations, the distances to be observed to avoid entrapment of body parts, the marking of devices and the setting of controls, to name just a few. Also covered by this standard are the resistance to heat and fire and to rusting as some of these parts are installed outdoors.

Special requirements for drives for doors that may be used in emergency routes and exits are given in a special annex.

Working for the safety of households

TC 61 aims to produce and maintain International Standards relating to the safety of household and similar appliances. Customers for its standards include consumers, manufacturers of appliances, certification and testing laboratories, retailers and national (local) inspection authorities. All these groups, except for retailers, are actively represented on the committee.

The standards produced by TC 61 are used for certification purposes in the IECEE scheme, and the certificates issued are used to obtain or cover market approval requirements internationally. IECEE is the IEC System of Conformity Assessment Schemes for Electrotechnical Equipment and Components.


Electrically-operated gates, doors and windows are no longer the preserve of commercial or industrial premises and of luxury homes. They have entered many homes. This has been made possible also by the introduction of fairly inexpensive kits – for garage doors, for instance – that can be installed by laymen.

For certain people, such as the disabled or the elderly, these electrically-operated devices represent a major improvement in their daily lives.

The work of TC 61 in reassessing IEC 60335-2-103 on a regular basis will ensure these devices remain safe to use in the household environment.

Chamberlain electric drive for garage door Chamberlain electric drive for garage door
Sliding gate Sliding gate
Revolving door Revolving door