Smoke is different to fire. Why you need a specialist maintenance provider.

Posted by Tom Archer on 31/07/19 15:05

While many know that they need to keep their smoke control systems maintained, a lot of building owners or operators are not fully aware of the details of what this should entail. thumb_01Often lumped in with fire security systems maintenance, a lot of smoke control systems are currently being looked after by fire security companies, who often sub-contract this to independent ‘AOV’ or “smoke vent” operatives. In this blog, we’ll tell you why this could be a dangerous approach and why setting up a specialist smoke control service contract is your best option to guarantee safety and compliance.

If your maintenance provider doesn’t understand the specific intricacies of smoke control systems, they will not be testing your systems properly.  

Although clearly related, smoke acts entirely differently to fire and poses a much greater risk in causing injury and death to the occupants of a building. It takes only 2 – 3 breaths of toxic smoke to knock you out and only 5 – 10 minutes of smoke inhalation can cause permanent brain damage. In a worst-case scenario, you could be killed in only 15 minutes.

A maintenance provider who isn’t fully aware of these differences may not know exactly what ‘warning signs’ to look out for or what tests to run to resolve them. All too often, a simple smoke test is deemed as enough for this very reason. However, if your service provider is not doing full motor resistance and load tests, then your system is not being tested to work at maximum duty, which is precisely when it does need to function properly. If they are not testing to the cause and effect, battery charge rates, etc., then you will not know if the system will function properly in the event of a fire. At Colt, we carry out thorough, notarised testing on all the systems we maintain. 

 If your maintenance provider is not third party certified, why not?

Colt’s maintenance team was the first in the UK to be awarded the IFC SDI05 certification that demands that our service engineers are competent in the installation, commissioning and servicing of active and fixed barriers for fire and smoke control systems. We regard this as a minimum requirement for any company servicing smoke control systems. If your maintenance provider does not hold this certification, perhaps it is time to ask ‘why not’?

Find out more about the IFC SDI05 certification and view our other accreditations.

How regularly do the service engineers undergo training updates?

Government regulations are continually changing with regards to smoke control system maintenance. That is why it is of paramount importance that the engineers working on your systems know exactly what the latest iterations state and expect. As the industry leader, we find that engineers we hire from other firms are often staggered at the sheer thoroughness of a Colt service visit. Colt engineers all receive a comprehensive, full training programme from our technical team when they join us. This training is topped up regularly, with additional training whenever there are any important new developments or regulatory updates.

If you’re not sure your current service provider is delivering the highest levels of service and safety, talk to us today to arrange a free building and systems survey.

Topics: smoke control maintenance