Maintaining smoke control systems in car parks.

Posted by Tom Archer on 25/08/21 14:00

Colt has worked on many car park projects that require smoke control systems over the years and our knowledge in designing, installing, commissioning and maintaining them is unrivalled.

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Topics: Smoke ventilation, service, smoke control maintenance

Your smoke control maintenance FAQs answered

Posted by Tom Archer on 23/06/21 10:00

When new customers contact us about setting up their contracts, we frequently get asked a few common questions. If you have just taken over management of a new building and are unsure about where to start with your fire safety systems maintenance schedule, this blog may have some of the answers you are looking for. For anything else you are still unsure of, contact one of our friendly and professional servicing specialists or use our ‘What’s on my roof’ uploader tool to identify what systems you have.

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Topics: Smoke ventilation, service, smoke control maintenance

Smoke control servicing: what to expect from a Colt smoke control maintenance expert

Posted by Tom Archer on 09/06/21 10:30

We frequently get asked by new customers what a maintenance visit from a Colt engineer will look like when we come to inspect and test your smoke control systems. We’ve written this blog to give you an overview of what you can expect from each of your Colt maintenance visits.

We truly understand how valuable your time is. That’s why our smoke ventilation servicing process has been designed to ensure that your buildings are safe and legal. Knowing exactly what to expect before, during and after a visit will put your mind at ease and help you to plan your time accordingly.

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Topics: Smoke ventilation, service, smoke control maintenance

Smoke and fire dampers maintenance. Your legal obligations and how to ensure your systems stay compliant.

Posted by Conor Logan on 13/05/21 10:00

What are fire dampers and why would your building need them?

To get started, let’s first explore exactly what a damper is, why dampers are important and how they help keep buildings and people safe.

  • A damper (in simplified HVAC terms) is a device which permits the flow of air when open and restricts the passage of air when closed.
  • A Fire damper is a device that permits the flow of air when open, restricts the passage of air and prevents the passage of fire when closed.
  • A smoke and fire damper is a device that permits the flow of air when open, restricts the passage of air and prevents the passage of smoke and fire when closed.

Fire dampers contain a fire to a single compartment and prevent it from spreading through ducts or other openings. In order to achieve their function, all fire dampers should fail in the closed position and there are generally two ways in which this is achieved; they are either motorised with motor open/spring closed operation or they are held open by a mechanical or electromechanical device and spring closed.

All fire and smoke and fire dampers require a thermal device as a final failsafe, so that when the temperature exceeds the operational limit, the damper closes. Only motorised dampers are easily tested and then reset open remotely but confirming that they have operated is often difficult as they are usually hidden away in ducting above ceilings and in walls. Mechanical dampers that rely on a thermal fuse and electromechanical dampers need manual intervention to reset them after operation which makes testing and verification of operation considerably more difficult.

Smoke and fire dampers play and extremely important role in fire safety systems as they are designed to stop the spread of fire and smoke throughout a building via the duct system. Successful compartmentation of the smoke and fire will result in the blaze being easier to put out, as well as helping to keep escape routes clear, keeping air in the building fresher for longer and minimising any potential damage to property.

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Topics: Smoke Control, service, smoke control maintenance, Fire Safety

Despite the nice friendly names, storms are often anything but. Time to check your Brise Soleil.

Posted by Tom Archer on 08/12/20 11:00

Here in the UK, we get more storms than we used to and Met Office have been giving them nice names. You may remember in February this year we had Storm Ciara followed immediately by Storm Dennis.

Their impact, though, can be anything but nice. Ciara recorded 97mph on the coast, with widespread gusts of 70 – 80 mph even in less exposed inland areas, causing trees to be blown down. The destructive winds and heavy rainfall of Storm Dennis claimed at least five UK fatalities.

The Met Office tells us that our next visitors will be named Bella, Cristoph and Darcy. But beware, they are unlikely to be as nice as they sound.

With strong winds and storms becoming a more frequent feature of the autumn and winter weather patterns in the UK, external building features are being exposed to these more unpredictable elements.

However, Brise Soleil systems and typical architectural shading products are generally overlooked when considering inspections for damage. Under BS EN 1991-1-1-4 2005, it is a requirement to carry out inspection works to the fixings of external architecture to prevent wear and tear, check for vibration, divergence, and fluctuations to the system which could cause fatigue and cracking.

The potential for property damage, personal injury and even fatalities could easily become a reality. You must ensure you have a maintenance engineer you can trust. One who will check for galvanic corrosion or wear and tear and who will ensure that the installation hasn’t become loose or damaged from high winds.

An example of what can go wrong if you fail to maintain your Brise Soleil systems:

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Topics: service, Brise Soleil

What the Draft Building Safety Bill Will Mean for Service and Maintenance of High-risk Buildings

Posted by Conor Logan on 25/09/20 10:15

Last month I wrote a technical review of the latest Fire Safety Bill, where I outlined the specific details of how the Fire Safety Bill legislation will be implemented and enforced.

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Topics: Smoke Control, service, smoke control maintenance, Fire Safety

Smoke ventilation servicing: what to expect during a visit

Posted by Tom Archer on 02/07/20 10:00

In our last post, we outlined everything you need to know about smoke ventilation system maintenance. Now, we will explain what you can expect when you set up a service contract with Colt and call out our engineers for smoke ventilation servicing.

We truly understand how valuable your time is. That’s why our smoke ventilation servicing process has been designed to efficiently ensure that your buildings are safe and legal. Knowing exactly what to expect before, during and after a visit, will put your mind at ease and help you to plan your time accordingly.

Firstly, we will outline some of the types of buildings and smoke control systems we maintain, then we will explain what to expect from a visit, and list some common issues we find during visits. Finally, we will explain how to set up a servicing contract with us.

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Topics: Regulations, service, smoke control maintenance

Brise Soleil

Posted by Tom Archer on 27/09/19 12:00

Strong winds and storms are becoming a more frequent feature of the autumn and winter weather patterns in the UK and external building features are being exposed to these more unpredictable elements.

However, Brise Soleil systems and typical architectural shading products are generally overlooked when considering inspections for damage. Under BS EN 1991-1-1-4 2005, it is a requirement to carry out inspection works to the fixings of external architecture to prevent wear and tear, check for vibration, divergence, and fluctuations to the system which could cause fatigue and cracking.

The potential for property damage, personal injury and even fatalities could easily become a reality. You must ensure you have a maintenance engineer you can trust. One who will check for galvanic corrosion or wear and tear and who will ensure that the installation hasn’t become loose or damaged from high winds.

An example of what can go wrong if you fail to maintain your Brise Soleil systems:

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Topics: service, Brise Soleil

Maintaining smoke control systems in residential tower blocks

Posted by Conor Logan on 27/03/19 08:48

Between 2017 and 2018, there were 801 residential high-rise fires attended to across the UK, with 73 fatalities and many more casualties recorded as a result of smoke inhalation and other injury.

Properly functioning smoke control systems are integral in helping to keep terrible figures such as the above mentioned at a much lower rate.

How do properly functioning smoke control systems help reduce the effects of a fire in a residential tower block?

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Topics: service, smoke control maintenance

The Ocado warehouse fire, Andover.  Short term benefit outweighs long term resilience?

Posted by Conor Logan on 12/03/19 15:20

On February 8th, the catastrophic fire that engulfed Ocado’s Andover Customer Fulfillment Centre (CFC) finally came to an end, after four traumatic days.

As the fire raged on, 300 firefighters battled on at considerable personal risk, while over 100 residents in the area surrounding the 24,000 sq. metre warehouse were evacuated. 

Statistically, more than 40% of businesses do not survive the consequences of a major fire and Ocado has already started seeing the effects of this one on theirs. Since February 5th, Ocado shares have seen a 14% decrease and the company has started preparing for massive hits to sales as it struggles to fulfill orders. The Andover CFC processed around 30,000 orders for customers each week, which represents 10% of the entire business’ capacity.

Now the immediate danger is over, the question of why this happened must be investigated. Was the repeal of the Local Acts in 2012 a contributing factor?

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Topics: Smoke Control, Regulations, service