Covid-19 and the maintenance of life-safety systems such as smoke control.

Posted by Tom Archer on 01/03/22 10:00

ServiceWe have come a long way with Covid-19 since 2020 and now, almost two years on, it feels like we are finally at a stage where we can live with the virus and return to our usual work and social routines. The last time we wrote about the maintenance of smoke control with regards to the pandemic was in March of 2020, when the first lockdowns had just been announced. In that blog, we reminded people that the testing and maintenance of life safety installations in buildings is mandatory under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order. Therefore, regardless of whether the buildings you managed would be in constant use or mostly empty, it remains imperative that a regular maintenance programme is adhered to in buildings of all types, be they commercial, industrial or residential.

The testing and maintaining of life safety systems in order to keep them operating at their maximum effectiveness is one of the most important aspects of facilities management. Maintenance frequencies are specified under BS 9999 - smoke control systems should be tested weekly and maintained annually as a minimum.

However, despite the fact that we are now seeing more of a return to the office, there are still unfortunately many organisations that are paring back their maintenance regimes to reactive maintenance only, i.e. repairing systems only once a fault is apparent. Not only is this a non-compliant approach, but it is also putting lives at risk. The problem is, life safety systems often lie dormant in a state of readiness for when needed, so faults and failures often go undetected for some time or until an emergency occurs, when it may well be too late.

Furthermore, if a fault occurs and a system has reduced performance or is inoperable, mitigating provisions will have to be put in place to offset the risk in the event of a fire. This might simply be employing a waking watch for the building, but worst case it could mean a total decant of the entire building to alternative locations.

The best way to avoid this is to continue with planned maintenance, make sure all systems are operating effectively and keep buildings as safe as they always should be.

Colt engineers adhere to all current government safety mandates and operate with sensible protective precautions to carry out critical maintenance. They ensure your smoke control systems continue to operate as intended and keep occupants safe.

Now that the UK government is phasing out the idea of lockdowns, our message to you is don’t leave it too late to ensure your systems are properly maintained and operational. If you have been putting off getting your smoke control systems tested and serviced, now is the time to book a service visit.

Talk to our friendly and knowledgeable team today to arrange a consultation or a free site visit.

Topics: Residential Buildings, service, smoke control maintenance