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

Industrial fume extract solutions from Colt

Posted by Ginny Williamson on 31/08/21 10:00

Colt was recently commissioned to work on a project at a car parts manufacturing plant that required some creative thinking when it came to fume extract.

This particular facility had large galvanizing tanks used as part of the manufacturing process. The existing extract fans which were located directly above the tanks had been out of service for some time. Their location meant it was extremely difficult to access for maintenance, and repairs. Repairing the existing fans would require extensive scaffolding equipment to be set up and many days of production lost which was impractical and not cost effective.


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Topics: Factory Survey, Climate Control

Specifying, commissioning and testing smoke ventilation systems.

Posted by Conor Logan on 27/08/21 10:00

Smoke control is a ‘wide science’: it requires in-depth knowledge of the building layout, the technical aspects and the bewildering array of building regulations in force. Each type of building has its own peculiarities and some have specific regulations and guidance on smoke ventilation.

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Topics: Smoke Control, Smoke ventilation, HVAC, Controls

Maintaining smoke control systems in car parks.

Posted by Tom Archer on 25/08/21 14:00

Colt has worked on many car park projects that require smoke control systems over the years and our knowledge in designing, installing, commissioning and maintaining them is unrivalled.

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Topics: Smoke ventilation, service, smoke control maintenance

Effectively ventilating and cooling manufacturing facilities

Posted by Andrew Wright on 20/07/21 10:00

Case study: Brompton Bicycles

In June 2017 Colt was approached by the iconic British bikes brand, Brompton, to provide a ventilation solution that would help them overcome brazing fume issues and more generally overheating issues in their new manufacturing facility. Having recently moved their manufacturing hub from Kew to Greenford, they required a new ventilation system to deal with brazing fumes and poor air quality, associated overheating issues and also a lack of air movement in the assembly areas and meeting spaces on a mezzanine floor.

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Topics: Climate Control

Smoke Control in buildings with atria

Posted by Conor Logan on 30/06/21 10:00

Many residential and commercial buildings feature atria as a design feature to create a light well or to incorporate lifts or stairs into the design in a visually aesthetic way. However, they also provide a passage whereby smoke and fumes resulting from a fire could easily spread up through the entire building and affect multiple floors. Therefore, having effective smoke control and suppression systems in place in buildings with atria is essential.

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Topics: Smoke Control, Smoke ventilation, HVAC, Controls

Your smoke control maintenance FAQs answered

Posted by Tom Archer on 23/06/21 10:00

When new customers contact us about setting up their contracts, we frequently get asked a few common questions. If you have just taken over management of a new building and are unsure about where to start with your fire safety systems maintenance schedule, this blog may have some of the answers you are looking for. For anything else you are still unsure of, contact one of our friendly and professional servicing specialists or use our ‘What’s on my roof’ uploader tool to identify what systems you have.

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Topics: Smoke ventilation, service, smoke control maintenance

Fresh, clean indoor air: one of the easiest ways to keep your buildings safe and healthy

Posted by Paul Langford on 18/06/21 10:00

In a recent Economist Magazine (May 29th, 2021), the editor decided to include an article on a topic that Colt has been talking about for a while now, but which is finally receiving the attention it deserves because of the unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic. That topic is the important role that fresh, indoor air in schools and workplaces has in contributing to improving the health and wellbeing of a building’s occupants.

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Topics: Climate Control

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