Using crossflow ventilation to create a successful fume extract solution

Posted by Andrew Wright on 28/01/22 10:00

In May 2019, Briggs Forrester contacted Colt to assist them with designing, manufacturing and installing a fume ventilation system for a military client in Wiltshire.

The building in question was an old airplane hangar that was being refurbished to house the facility’s forklifts, raising concerns about CO fumes building up in the space. Once our specialists had surveyed the building and considered the solutions that would work most effectively, we set to work on designing a crossflow ventilation system that would effectively control the CO levels in the building.

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Topics: Climate Control

What are AOVs?

Posted by Conor Logan on 21/01/22 10:00

If you have become newly involved in the world of smoke control, you may hear or see the term ‘”AOV” quite frequently and be wondering what it means and what AOVs do. In this blog, we aim to give you a good understanding of what AOVs are and when they might be required in a building.

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Topics: Smoke Control, Smoke ventilation, HVAC, Controls

What are the regulations and responsibilities surrounding the "responsible person" when it comes to the maintenance of smoke control systems?

Posted by Tom Archer on 14/01/22 10:00

If you own or manage a commercial or residential property, you are ultimately responsible for the safety of the building's occupants and providing fire safety systems that are properly maintained and functioning.

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Topics: Residential Buildings, service, smoke control maintenance

Why maintaining your smoke vents properly is so important.

Posted by Tom Archer on 21/12/21 10:00

Smoke vents are a crucial part of a building’s fire safety systems and work in conjunction with other mechanisms such as smoke curtains and sprinklers to protect building occupants and the building’s structure from damage or collapse. How do they do this, though? In this blog, we will outline the basic function of smoke vents and how they work, as well as looking at best practices for maintaining them properly to ensure they do not fail in case of an emergency.

In the initial stages of a fire, temperatures tend to rise fairly slowly and consistently until they reach their ‘flashover point’ when the rise in heat rapidly accelerates. Due to the relatively slow temperature rise when a fire starts, very large amounts of smoke are usually produced in the first few minutes. Without any barriers to contain the smoke or an exit for it to escape the building, it can very quickly fill even a very large space, quickly incapacitating occupants. The limited visibility created by the smoke also makes it extremely difficult for firefighters to locate the seat of the fire to put it out quickly.

It is extremely important that firefighters reach the fire to put it out in the beginning stages when the temperatures are still manageable, because once a fire reaches its flashover point, the likelihood of rescuing any occupants, stock or indeed the building itself (depending on how large the blaze it), goes down considerably.

Smoke vents are instrumental in helping to keep escape routes clear and in allowing firefighters to reach the origin of the fire quickly, helping them to extinguish it faster which saves lives, stock and buildings.

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Topics: service

Case study: using CFD to provide the right ventilation solutions for power generation facilities

Posted by Laurence Cockman on 14/12/21 10:00

We recently worked on a project with the Newhurst Energy-from-Waste facility where the customer wanted to try a new design approach that led to some interesting modelling results we wanted to share with you.

To give some context around the building design, the Newhurst power generation facility is much like any other power generation building – a large, mainly open structure that is around 40 metres tall. Inside the building, large steam turbines, boilers and other processes are constantly producing high levels of heat that needs to be managed in order to keep the interior conditions stable for both the benefit of the staff and the energy-producing processes.

A typical climate control solution for this type of building would be a natural ventilation approach, consisting of natural ventilation openings in the external envelope of the buildings at both high and low-level. With this type of system, cooler outside air tends to flow into the building through ventilation openings in the lower half of the building, and warm air flows out of the building through natural ventilation openings in the upper half of the building. This is commonly referred to as displacement or stack ventilation system.

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Topics: Climate Control

Using smoke control systems in multi-storey residential buildings to avoid overheating in common corridors

Posted by Conor Logan on 07/12/21 10:00

The ongoing quest for energy efficiency has led to very good insulation in residential buildings. This is very good for the environment and energy performance, but it also has an unintended consequence on stair lobbies, corridors and entrance halls, in the form of overheating. This results in unpleasant conditions for residents and possible issues maintaining cold water supply temperatures.

Heat build-up in corridors or lobbies of residential buildings is a common problem with a simple solution. If there is a risk of overheating in buildings where they already exist or are part of the design, use the smoke shafts. These are typically positioned in a way that can also provide effective environmental ventilation (the use of natural or mechanical ventilation to create better internal conditions). Therefore, they can serve a dual purpose of evacuating smoke in case of fire and providing day-to-day ventilation to extract any excess heat as required.

However, the design and controls need to be well thought through and there are some pitfalls to avoid for the solution to deal with overheating effectively.

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Topics: Smoke Control, Smoke ventilation, HVAC, Controls

Maintaining smoke control systems in multi-storey residential buildings

Posted by Tom Archer on 23/11/21 10:00

Testing and maintenance of life safety installations in multi-storey residential buildings is mandatory under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order and is one of the most important aspects of facilities management. Since Covid-19 has become a global concern and forcing people to spend more time at home, it has become more important than ever that people are kept safe in their apartments.


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Topics: service

Natural vs mechanical: ventilation in power plants.

Posted by Paul Langford on 18/11/21 10:00

To achieve the right temperature, humidity and air quality in a power plant whilst keeping costs low, you must understand the differences between natural ventilation systems and mechanical ventilation systems.

In the majority of power plant cases, natural ventilation is the ideal solution. In this blog post, we will explain why this is the case, and highlight cases where mechanical ventilation would be recommended.

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Topics: Climate Control

Using CFD to design effective smoke and ventilation systems in power generation and energy from waste facilities

Posted by Conor Logan on 09/11/21 10:00

Power generation plants and energy from waste facilities, whatever their size, present several design challenges in relation to ventilation and smoke extraction.

With over 85 years in ventilation and smoke control design, manufacture and install, Colt has worked with numerous power generation and energy from waste facilities. To help us navigate the challenges presented by these complex projects, one of the key tools we use to assist with designing effective systems in power generation, is in-house computational fluid dynamics (CFD). Before we explain the benefits of CFD further, let’s take a look at some of the most common problems a designer working on a power generation project might encounter.

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Topics: Smoke Control, Smoke ventilation, HVAC, Controls

What is SFG20 and why is it beneficial to maintaining my smoke control / AOV system?

Posted by Tom Archer on 25/10/21 10:00

Recently, we have been getting a lot of questions from customers who are either thinking about or who are already using SFG20 to help maintain their smoke control systems. In this blog, we aim to answer some of the most common questions around what SFG20 is, how to use it and why it is beneficial.


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Topics: service

Combining fume extract, smoke clearance and day-to-day ventilation

Posted by Andrew Wright on 20/10/21 10:00

Case Study: Crabtree Manorway, Belvedere

The Crabtree Manorway “Warehouse” in Belvedere is a secure facility that has been purpose-built for the Met Police to undertake fleet maintenance and other official police duties. The project consisted of 4 individual buildings, each with their own requirements and system types, making this quite a unique project, greatly benefitting from Colt’s considerable experience and expertise.

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Topics: Climate Control

The anatomy of a smoke control system

Posted by Conor Logan on 14/10/21 11:00

While it’s often understood that the basic function of a smoke control system is to control the movement of smoke in a fire to help keep buildings and their occupants safe, we also frequently get asked what components go into designing an effective smoke control system.

To answer that question in simple terms, we can compare a well-designed smoke control system to a human body, as all the same basic elements are needed to keep each functioning properly:

  • Decision-making control panel (brain)
  • Sensors and detectors (eyes/ears)
  • Equipment and devices (muscles)
  • Cable Network (nervous system)
  • Power Supplies (cardiovascular system)
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Topics: Smoke Control, Smoke ventilation, HVAC, Controls

Why brise soleil maintenance is so important

Posted by Tom Archer on 28/09/21 11:00

Strong winds and storms are 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 - it is your duty as a building owner or operator to ensure your systems are well maintained.

However, brise soleil systems and typical architectural shading products are generally overlooked when considering inspections for damage after storms. 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 if maintenance is neglected. 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.

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Topics: service, Brise Soleil

Car Park ventilation: dealing with overheating in underground car parks.

Posted by Laurence Cockman on 21/09/21 10:00

It is commonly known that underground car parks need to be ventilated to remove the build-up of exhaust fumes and in some instances for smoke ventilation. However, another common problem that is less discussed is the need for ventilation in underground car parks and basements where overheating occurs due to air conditioning condenser units being installed within them. This is the problem that we helped our clients at “Discovery” solve.

To understand why this issue occurs, let’s start with a basic explanation of how a traditional AC system operates and how it should be installed to get the maximum performance out of it. Typically, traditional air conditioning systems have an internal and external unit that work together to exchange warmth and coolth to achieve the desired internal temperature. In the summertime, the air conditioning system provides cool air by actually removing heat from the indoor air, transferring it to outside through a pipe circuit filled with refrigerant.

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Topics: Climate Control

Smoke and fire curtains. What they are, how they work and the UK regulations surrounding them.

Posted by Conor Logan on 09/09/21 10:00

What are smoke and fire curtains?

Smoke and fire curtains are both components that can form part of a fire safety system, but there are distinct differences in their roles and how they operate.

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Topics: Smoke Control, Smoke ventilation, HVAC, Controls