Smoke control servicing: what to expect from a Colt smoke control maintenance expert

Posted by Tom Archer on 09/06/21 10:30

We frequently get asked by new customers what a maintenance visit from a Colt engineer will look like when we come to inspect and test your smoke control systems. We’ve written this blog to give you an overview of what you can expect from each of your Colt maintenance visits.

We truly understand how valuable your time is. That’s why our smoke ventilation servicing process has been designed to ensure that your buildings are safe and legal. Knowing exactly what to expect before, during and after a visit will put your mind at ease and help you to plan your time accordingly.

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Topics: Smoke ventilation, service, smoke control maintenance

Smoke control in shopping centres: design approaches and challenges

Posted by Conor Logan on 08/06/21 10:00

In retail premises such as shopping centres, the Building Regulations have a strong emphasis on the provision of life safety systems such as smoke control.

A well-designed smoke control system should be able to maintain smoke free escape conditions at low level to allow the building to be evacuated with minimum risk of smoke inhalation, injury or death.

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Topics: Smoke Control, Smoke ventilation, HVAC, Controls

Smoke control requirements in educational buildings: what you need to know.

Posted by Conor Logan on 26/05/21 10:00

While smoke control is vital in any type of public building where people gather, it is perhaps even more so in schools and other buildings the more vulnerable members of society assemble. In this blog, we will cover the regulations around smoke control requirements in educational buildings and share some design considerations that are vital when configuring fire safety systems for buildings with children as the main users.

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Topics: Smoke Control, Smoke ventilation, HVAC, Controls

Smoke and fire dampers maintenance. Your legal obligations and how to ensure your systems stay compliant.

Posted by Conor Logan on 13/05/21 10:00

What are fire dampers and why would your building need them?

To get started, let’s first explore exactly what a damper is, why dampers are important and how they help keep buildings and people safe.

  • A damper (in simplified HVAC terms) is a device which permits the flow of air when open and restricts the passage of air when closed.
  • A Fire damper is a device that permits the flow of air when open, restricts the passage of air and prevents the passage of fire when closed.
  • A smoke and fire damper is a device that permits the flow of air when open, restricts the passage of air and prevents the passage of smoke and fire when closed.

Fire dampers contain a fire to a single compartment and prevent it from spreading through ducts or other openings. In order to achieve their function, all fire dampers should fail in the closed position and there are generally two ways in which this is achieved; they are either motorised with motor open/spring closed operation or they are held open by a mechanical or electromechanical device and spring closed.

All fire and smoke and fire dampers require a thermal device as a final failsafe, so that when the temperature exceeds the operational limit, the damper closes. Only motorised dampers are easily tested and then reset open remotely but confirming that they have operated is often difficult as they are usually hidden away in ducting above ceilings and in walls. Mechanical dampers that rely on a thermal fuse and electromechanical dampers need manual intervention to reset them after operation which makes testing and verification of operation considerably more difficult.

Smoke and fire dampers play and extremely important role in fire safety systems as they are designed to stop the spread of fire and smoke throughout a building via the duct system. Successful compartmentation of the smoke and fire will result in the blaze being easier to put out, as well as helping to keep escape routes clear, keeping air in the building fresher for longer and minimising any potential damage to property.

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Topics: Smoke Control, service, smoke control maintenance, Fire Safety

Ventilation Design for Wastewater Treatment Plants

Posted by Laurence Cockman on 07/05/21 12:00

Colt has worked on numerous wastewater and sewage treatment plant projects and has an advanced understanding of the ventilation strategies and regulations surrounding this sector, which are often more stringent and complex than other project types. Regulations and guidance that govern design criteria in this sector often cover all elements of the building spec, including water, electrical, cables, controls, ventilation, etc. making an experienced designer and contractor extremely valuable when it comes to saving time and money.

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Topics: Climate Control

Designing effective smoke ventilation into car parks

Posted by Conor Logan on 04/05/21 14:00

Enclosed or underground parking areas normally require car park ventilation systems. Smoke control systems are needed to provide a means of clearing smoke from the car park during and after a fire. This will limit smoke temperatures and structural damage and inhibit smoke spread between floors. Smoke ventilation systems may be designed in addition to provide clear smoke-free access for fire fighters to tackle the seat of the fire or to protect means of escape from the car park. These ventilation systems are more complex and exceed the requirements of the Building Regulations. They are generally used as compensating features when other requirements of the regulations are not met.

Day-to-day ventilation is also needed to control build-up of vehicle exhaust fumes or spilled fuel when the facility is in general use. Acceptable day-to-day air quality is maintained by removing exhaust gases and pollutants produced by vehicles and by ensuring the constant movement of air so that there are no pockets of stagnant air. Invariably, smoke and fume ventilation are facilitated by the same dual-purpose system.

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Topics: Smoke Control, smoke control maintenance, Fire Safety

Is evaporative cooling better than air conditioning for your business?

Posted by Paul Langford on 23/04/21 10:00

Evaporative cooling or ‘adiabatic cooling’ is a mouthful, we know. That’s why a lot of building owners and operators still don’t know about the effectiveness of these systems or the cost and environmental benefits they can deliver.

Many people don’t realise that if you manage a large industrial or semi-industrial facility where pinpoint control of temperature isn’t crucial, evaporative cooling can actually be a more effective choice than traditional air conditioning. Just have a look at the pros and cons associated with the different system types below – not only is evaporative cooling cheaper and more efficient, it introduces fresh air from outside avoiding poor health issues often associated with traditional systems.

Read on to find out what evaporative coolers are and why they could be better for your business than a traditional air conditioning system.

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Topics: Climate Control

Industrial ventilation solutions for environments with high heat outputs

Posted by Andrew Wright on 13/04/21 10:00

Case study: MRT Castings in Andover

There are many challenges to overcome when designing an effective ventilation system for industrial environments, including overheating, air quality, humidity and noise.

In this particular blog, we wanted to share our experience in helping one of our die casting customers – MRT Castings – install a new industrial ventilation solution that would overcome overheating issues in their new foundry.

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Topics: Climate Control

The importance of robust smoke control

Posted by Conor Logan on 31/03/21 10:00

Smoke inhalation is the number one cause of death from fires. In fact, approximately 50-80% of deaths are a result of smoke inhalation injuries rather than burns alone. When smoke is inhaled, harmful particles and gases enter the respiratory system, which can lead to distress syndrome, disorientation, unconsciousness, asphyxia and respiratory failure. Compared to burns alone, smoke inhalation can present more complex clinical challenges, affecting every organ in the body.

In this post, we highlight why it is important to maintain smoke control systems to keep your buildings legal and ultimately safe for occupants.

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Topics: Smoke Control, smoke control maintenance, Fire Safety

How do UK fire safety design regulations compare to those of countries in the EU?

Posted by Conor Logan on 24/03/21 10:00

The Grenfell review from Dame Judith Hackitt concluded that the current legislation regarding fire safety equipment in the UK is not fit for purpose and that it needs to improve. Learning the best that we can from other countries (such as those in the European Union) while avoiding their shortcomings would be a good start.

But while well-considered fire safety regulation is essential, it is equally important for all those involved in the design and construction of buildings and construction products to have an understanding of what fire can do to a building and how damage and danger can be minimised.

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Topics: Smoke Control, smoke control maintenance, Fire Safety

A CASE STUDY ON VENTILATION DESIGN IN WAREHOUSES

Posted by Ginny Williamson on 05/02/21 10:00

With more online ordering than ever and customers expecting goods to be delivered rather than picked up, warehouses and logistics centres have never been busier. From a health and safety perspective, this can cause problems when staff are sharing workplaces with vans, trucks and other fume-producing vehicles on a daily basis. Adequate ventilation in these centres is absolutely crucial.

The case study below demonstrates how Colt helped create a safe, healthy atmosphere for the staff at the DHL warehouse in Lincoln with a tailored fume detection and hybrid ventilation solution.

 

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Topics: Factory Survey, Climate Control

How to control diesel engine exhaust emissions in warehouses

Posted by Paul Langford on 16/12/20 15:00

To prevent an excessive build-up of carbon monoxide (CO) from diesel engines in enclosed spaces, sufficient ventilation must be provided. This will ensure that the stipulations of the Approved Document F (ADF) are met and that good air quality is sustained.

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Topics: Climate Control

Despite the nice friendly names, storms are often anything but. Time to check your Brise Soleil.

Posted by Tom Archer on 08/12/20 11:00

Here in the UK, we get more storms than we used to and Met Office have been giving them nice names. You may remember in February this year we had Storm Ciara followed immediately by Storm Dennis.

Their impact, though, can be anything but nice. Ciara recorded 97mph on the coast, with widespread gusts of 70 – 80 mph even in less exposed inland areas, causing trees to be blown down. The destructive winds and heavy rainfall of Storm Dennis claimed at least five UK fatalities.

The Met Office tells us that our next visitors will be named Bella, Cristoph and Darcy. But beware, they are unlikely to be as nice as they sound.

With strong winds and storms becoming a more frequent feature of the autumn and winter weather patterns in the UK, external building features are being exposed to these more unpredictable elements.

However, Brise Soleil systems and typical architectural shading products are generally overlooked when considering inspections for damage. Under BS EN 1991-1-1-4 2005, it is a requirement to carry out inspection works to the fixings of external architecture to prevent wear and tear, check for vibration, divergence, and fluctuations to the system which could cause fatigue and cracking.

The potential for property damage, personal injury and even fatalities could easily become a reality. You must ensure you have a maintenance engineer you can trust. One who will check for galvanic corrosion or wear and tear and who will ensure that the installation hasn’t become loose or damaged from high winds.

An example of what can go wrong if you fail to maintain your Brise Soleil systems:

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Topics: service, Brise Soleil

How your building can help in the fight against COVID-19

Posted by Paul Langford on 19/11/20 13:00

As we all get to grips with the latest lockdown, businesses have to explore new ways of working in a COVID-19 secure manner. So how can you ensure that your workplace, be it a factory, warehouse or office, is properly prepared to reduce the risk of the spread of Coronavirus amongst your workforce.

In our previous blog we explored some of the latest scientific theory surrounding the potential for the airborne spread of COVID-19 through building ventilation. For building managers it is very important to be fully aware of every step they can take to limit the transmission of contaminants in the workplace.

In this blog we aim to suggest some practical steps you can take to make your building COVID-19 resilient – it’s important to remember that where viruses are concerned the realistic goal is to make your building ‘safer’ rather than ‘safe’. It’s simply not possible to eradicate completely the potential of a COVID-19 outbreak in a typical workplace as there are other factors, beyond your control, which come into play.

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Topics: Climate Control

How good ventilation can help to combat COVID-19 in buildings

Posted by Paul Langford on 09/10/20 10:00

As the scientific knowledge around the spread of the Coronavirus continues to develop, it is important to know which information is both correct and relevant for ventilation systems. The airborne potential of COVID-19 is high according to a recent report by the British Medical Journal which stated that microscopic respiratory droplets containing COVID-19 can hover in the air for minutes or even hours, and potentially drift many metres horizontally. Therefore, it is necessary for the air ventilation industry to be fully up to date with the latest theory around the capability for the airborne transmission of COVID-19.

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Topics: Climate Control