Inverter control for car park ventilation: Good or bad idea?

Posted by Paul Compton on 03/06/14 11:30

The debate: what is it all about?

Over the last few years there has been a lot of discussion about use of inverter control for smoke extract fans. This has centred on concerns that the changing characteristics of the fan motor as it heats up may cause inverter failure. Inverter manufacturers do offer models with an “emergency mode”, where the majority of protections are disabled with the intention of allowing the motor to run to destruction.

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Topics: Smoke Control, Smoke Containment, Regulations, Controls, Car Park Ventilation

CPD certified webinar - Pressurisation systems in residential and commercial buildings

Posted by Paul Compton on 19/11/13 11:30

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Topics: Smoke Control, Smoke ventilation, Pressurisation, Regulations

Questions and answers from Paul Compton's 'The General Principles of Smoke Control' webinar

Posted by Paul Compton on 08/10/13 10:38

First of all a big thank you to all those who attended my webinar last Friday on 'The General Principles of Smoke Control'. If you missed it or would like to watch it again, a recorded version is available here. Many questions were asked after the presentation and I decided to post them here for everybody’s benefit.

 

  1. How does smoke clearance and smoke control differ from smoke management?
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Topics: Smoke Control, Regulations, Car Park Ventilation, Smoke shafts

Car park ventilation: getting ‘free areas’ right in your design with the Colt webinar

Posted by Paul Compton on 20/08/13 11:17

Getting the design of car park ventilation systems right is essential car park screeningto the safety of a car park, as they must provide both day to day ventilation for the people using it and protection against fire, as required by Building Regulations. However, it’s not as straightforward as you might think.

Simple guidance on "free areas"...

Guidance on the ventilation requirements for car parks to meet the Building Regulations’ requirements is available in Approved Document B (ADB) and Approved Document F (ADF) for England, and their equivalents in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

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Topics: Smoke Control, Regulations, Smoke ventilation, Car Park Ventilation

Navigating the complex world of smoke control standards and regulations

Posted by Paul Compton on 17/07/13 10:06

Smoke control systems are an essential element in any building’s design for their vital role in preserving life and property. Product and design standards relating to smoke and heat control systems are in constant evolution, as they updated and expanded in response to regulations and experience in the field. Navigating the complexities of designing an effective smoke control system and complying with the standards and regulations in force can seem daunting.

Fire Risk Management magazine recently asked me to provide an overview of the current standards and available guidance in the field of smoke control, as well as an outlook on forthcoming developments.

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Topics: Smoke Control, Regulations

The importance of specifying the right weather louvres

Posted by Paul Compton on 25/06/13 13:57

Specifying weather louvres is a complex business. In an earlier blog we explained how the key considerations to make fall into three areas: aerodynamic performance (pressure loss through the louvre panel), resistance to rain entry, and exposure and wind loads. We also published a white paper, available for download here , where we explain the EN13030 test standard and its limitations and set out the critical points to cover when writing an effective specification.

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Topics: Regulations, Energy saving, Louvre

New fire curtain standard to replace PAS 121

Posted by Paul Compton on 29/05/13 09:51

“Marry in haste, repent at leisure”, as the saying goes. This case is not quite so dramatic but PAS 121 (in common with most PAS) was written in haste and it shows.

At last though we have a replacement (in fact 2 replacements) in the form of BS 8524-1 and BS 8524-2, both published last month. These have been developed through the full BSI process and are much better.

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Topics: Smoke Control, Fire Containment, Regulations, Smoke Containment

The Lakanal House inquest and Local Authority tower blocks

Posted by Conor Logan on 10/04/13 09:31

Photo: Channel 4 News

The inquest into the Lakanal House tragedy concluded last week and the published verdict and recommendations raise important concerns regarding fire safety in local authority tower blocks, and particularly in aged housing stock.

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Topics: Fire Containment, Regulations, Residential Buildings

The CPR and mandatory CE marking: what is changing and what will it mean for you?

Posted by Paul Compton on 14/02/13 10:01

Starting in July this year, all construction products covered by harmonized European Standards under the Construction Products Regulation (CPR) will have to be CE marked to be legally sold in the UK and Ireland. This is a good thing for the building industry, as it will give purchasers the peace of mind that all the products they buy meet minimum criteria, as shown by CE Marking supported by test reports and documentation. For critical products, such as fixed fire fighting equipment, the CE marking has to be backed up by Independent testing and certification by a Notified Body.

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Topics: Regulations

Stop misleading people over CE marking – it’s products not systems!

Posted by Paul Compton on 03/01/13 08:45

It’s not often I’ll do a rant but I’ve had enough of companies falsely claiming that a ‘system’ is CE marked. Quite simply it’s just not possible and I think it’s wrong to mislead people.

In any industry, and especially in one like smoke control where the stakes are high, it’s the responsibility of the industry to educate and inform customers and specifiers and not to feed them false and misleading information. It’s not right and could affect the integrity of the industry and reputation of those making the claims – you know who you are!

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Topics: Smoke Control, Regulations

How much ventilation is needed to make car parks safe?

Posted by Conor Logan on 18/10/12 12:01

As National Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week approaches (19-25 November), we ask what is the best approach to designing a car park ventilation system that guarantees good air quality at all times.
 
The requirements

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Topics: Regulations, Smoke ventilation, Car Park Ventilation

Magnets and smoke shaft systems: a dangerously unpredictable combination

Posted by Conor Logan on 10/10/12 11:55

Smoke shaft systems are very effective solutions to ventilate lobbies and corridors in the case of fire. A ventilator is installed at each level of the building leading into the smoke shaft in order to evacuate the smoke. Many of the early smoke shaft systems rely on electro-magnets to hold the ventilator flap closed, rather than installing motorised ventilators.

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Topics: Smoke Control, Regulations, Smoke shafts

Construction products regulations – are you ready?

Posted by Paul Compton on 26/09/12 11:59

A year can seem like a long time but it’s amazing how fast it can go when there’s a deadline. And there’s an important deadline looming. From July 2013 all construction products covered by harmonized European Standards under the Construction Products Regulations will have to be CE marked to be legally sold in the UK and ROI.

Of course many products are already CE marked as the CE mark is already mandatory across most of Europe, but certainly not all are. For fire safety products, certified under attestation level 1, obtaining a CE mark can be a long process, requiring independent testing, factory production control and certification.

What do you need to do?

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Topics: Regulations

Fire safety: protecting local authority tower blocks

Posted by Conor Logan on 13/09/12 10:20

The fire that broke out at Lakanal House in 2009 with tragic consequences put the spotlight on the issue of fire safety in local authority tower blocks.

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Topics: Fire Containment, Regulations, Residential Buildings

Is pressurisation really necessary for fire fighting stairs above 30m?

Posted by Paul Compton on 02/08/12 09:00

The publication of BS 9999 and BS 9991 has been a breath of fresh air in some ways, but of course not everything new is perfect.

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Topics: Smoke Control, Regulations, Smoke ventilation, Pressurisation, Smoke shafts