The latest revision to the SCA Guidance on Smoke Control to Common Escape Routes in Apartment Buildings explained

Posted by Conor Logan on 08/12/15 12:00

Colt Shaft corridor smoke controlThe prevention of smoke spread through buildings is of critical importance.

The Smoke Control Association (SCA) has published Revision 2 to its ‘Guidance on Smoke Control to Common Escape Routes in Apartment Buildings (Flats and Maisonettes)’, which is available for download from This revision became necessary largely owing to the ever increasing complexity in the design of buildings, and also to fall in line with amendments to the recently published BS 9991.

All relevant aspects covered in one document

This one document provides details and gives recommendations not previously covered in other standards or codes of practice. Thus it should make a significant contribution to an improved understanding of smoke control systems.

There are sections on the different types of system and their function, as well as information on all the relevant legislation, standards and codes of practice.

There are many new recommendations, updated product standards, a new section on Fire Service intervention and a limitation on the extension of travel distances to which all SCA member organisations have agreed.

A wide range of contributors

Many practitioners were involved in the writing of the revised Guidance, including Building Control Officers, Fire Engineers and Fire Officers.

As a result the Guidance is comprehensive and provides very helpful and practical design information, including design fire sizes, tenability criteria and suggested timelines for the design process. It also gives good guidance on the standard of ventilation and controls equipment to be used, along with guidance on installation, commissioning and maintenance.

It supports ADB and the new edition of BS 9991 and is now widely used by BCOs and Fire Officers – all in all, a great source of knowledge of current good practice for schemes throughout the UK.

The Guidance reflects how buildings are currently designed

It also reflects changes in architectural practice. For example in many small single stair apartment buildings there is now often a limitation of the space available at the top of the staircase. This can make it difficult to incorporate a natural ventilator, and so a mechanical solution is often adopted to save space. The Guidance sets out helpful performance criteria for designing such a system.

The Guidance tightens up requirements in a sensible way and provides clarity

The fire resistance of dampers and doors must now be equivalent to the element of structure that the shaft is passing through, as must the shaft.

There is also improved guidance on the design of AOVs and Head of Stair vents, providing useful clarity on definition of ventilation areas.


Join me at 12.30 UK time on Friday 8 January 2016, as I present a webinar to cover the Guidance and its latest important revision. I am the chairman of the SCA and also chaired the working group which produced the Guidance.

There will be the chance to ask me questions at the end of the session, and for those who register but can't make the webinar at the last minute, the session will be recorded and made available online.

Watch the webinar  

Conor Logan Conor Logan is a Technical Manager of Colt UK, Smoke and Climate Control Division. Conor designs innovative smoke control and HVAC systems and is also Chairman of the Smoke Control Association.

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Topics: Smoke Control, Regulations, Corridor ventilation