Common potential issues and pitfalls with smoke shaft systems.

Posted by Conor Logan on 13/05/22 10:00

Smoke control systems are vital to keeping buildings and occupants safe. However, unfortunately there are also occasionally times when things can go wrong and the systems fail. In this blog, we aim to cover some of the most common issues and how they can affect the overall performance of smoke shaft systems.

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Topics: Smoke Control, Smoke ventilation, HVAC, Controls

Do the right thing. What the latest amendments to The Building Safety Bill mean for the installation and commissioning of fire safety systems.

Posted by Conor Logan on 08/04/22 10:00

Act responsibly or face hefty financial and legal consequences. This is the message the government is sending to manufacturers, installers and suppliers of fire safety equipment with its latest amendments to The Building Safety Bill.

In February, the government tabled 38 pages of amendments to The Building Safety Bill that would impose extremely stringent penalties on manufacturers, installers and others across the industry who do not comply with the proper standards and regulations. Although the main driver for these changes is cladding issues, systems and products like smoke control, sprinklers and fire alarms are also included.

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Topics: Smoke Control, Smoke ventilation, HVAC, Controls

The legislative framework surrounding smoke shafts and pressurization systems.

Posted by Conor Logan on 18/03/22 10:00

In this blog, we aim to provide guidance on UK legislation with particular emphasis on the regulations in England that form the basis for smoke control design. Since local government was devolved, each nation state has produced its own guidance framework for construction. In England this is defined by the Building Regulations 2010 and the Approved Documents – specifically Approved Document B for Fire Safety. In Wales it is similar, except the Approved Documents are specific to Wales. In Scotland, the requirements are set out in the Building (Scotland) Regulations 2004 and the supporting guidance can be found in the Building Standards Technical Handbooks – Section 2 for Fire Safety. Finally, for Northern Ireland, it would be the Building Regulations (NI) 2012 supported by the Technical Booklets – E, for fire safety.

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Topics: Smoke Control, Smoke ventilation, HVAC, Controls

Smoke shaft or pressurization system? Which is best for protecting escape routes in buildings?

Posted by Conor Logan on 18/02/22 12:00

Both pressurization systems and smoke shafts are commonly used for smoke control in buildings to protect escape routes. But how do you decide what approach to take for your building? The decision is influenced by legislation and standards, building configuration, budget and space requirements - there is no universal “right” choice, but there’s certainly a best choice for each individual building. In this blog, we will give you an overview of the differences between these systems, how they work and other key comparisons that can help you understand what’s best for your project.

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Topics: Smoke Control, Smoke ventilation, HVAC, Controls

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

7 reasons why you shouldn't use HVAC control systems for smoke ventilation

Posted by Conor Logan on 02/06/20 10:00

Smoke ventilation systems today require sophisticated control systems with highly complex sequences of operation. HVAC control systems could be seen as a viable solution, as they can be extremely flexible and offer a high degree of programmability. However, while they may be adequate for simple applications, there are a number of issues that mean they do not deliver on all the functionalities needed for more complex schemes.

Here are 7 reasons why:

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Topics: Smoke Control, Smoke ventilation, HVAC, Controls

Are fire alarm control systems any good for smoke ventilation?

Posted by Conor Logan on 25/07/19 16:32

The upsurge in large-scale residential schemes and commercial towers with fire fighting shafts has created the need for much more sophisticated control systems with highly complex sequences of operation for their smoke ventilation schemes.

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Topics: Smoke Control, Smoke ventilation, Controls