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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

Topics: Smoke Control, Smoke ventilation, HVAC, Controls

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.

Read More

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

Designing effective smoke ventilation into car parks

Posted by Conor Logan on 04/05/21 14:00

Enclosed or underground parking areas normally require car park ventilation systems. Smoke control systems are needed to provide a means of clearing smoke from the car park during and after a fire. This will limit smoke temperatures and structural damage and inhibit smoke spread between floors. Smoke ventilation systems may be designed in addition to provide clear smoke-free access for fire fighters to tackle the seat of the fire or to protect means of escape from the car park. These ventilation systems are more complex and exceed the requirements of the Building Regulations. They are generally used as compensating features when other requirements of the regulations are not met.

Day-to-day ventilation is also needed to control build-up of vehicle exhaust fumes or spilled fuel when the facility is in general use. Acceptable day-to-day air quality is maintained by removing exhaust gases and pollutants produced by vehicles and by ensuring the constant movement of air so that there are no pockets of stagnant air. Invariably, smoke and fume ventilation are facilitated by the same dual-purpose system.

Read More

Topics: Smoke Control, smoke control maintenance, Fire Safety

The importance of robust smoke control

Posted by Conor Logan on 31/03/21 10:00

Smoke inhalation is the number one cause of death from fires. In fact, approximately 50-80% of deaths are a result of smoke inhalation injuries rather than burns alone. When smoke is inhaled, harmful particles and gases enter the respiratory system, which can lead to distress syndrome, disorientation, unconsciousness, asphyxia and respiratory failure. Compared to burns alone, smoke inhalation can present more complex clinical challenges, affecting every organ in the body.

In this post, we highlight why it is important to maintain smoke control systems to keep your buildings legal and ultimately safe for occupants.

Read More

Topics: Smoke Control, smoke control maintenance, Fire Safety

How do UK fire safety design regulations compare to those of countries in the EU?

Posted by Conor Logan on 24/03/21 10:00

The Grenfell review from Dame Judith Hackitt concluded that the current legislation regarding fire safety equipment in the UK is not fit for purpose and that it needs to improve. Learning the best that we can from other countries (such as those in the European Union) while avoiding their shortcomings would be a good start.

But while well-considered fire safety regulation is essential, it is equally important for all those involved in the design and construction of buildings and construction products to have an understanding of what fire can do to a building and how damage and danger can be minimised.

Read More

Topics: Smoke Control, smoke control maintenance, Fire Safety

What do Fire Curtain Certificates EN 16034 and EN 13241 mean?

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

Why do these standards exist?

The need for a harmonised set of regulatory standards in relation to fire curtains is a necessity to ensure that all products meet a clearly outlined list of safety requirements. The standards mean that those selling or buying products such as fire curtains, can be absolutely sure that their products are fit for purpose. Many companies do not currently adhere to these new certificates, and will be continuing to sell products that do not in fact meet the new legal requirements.

Read More

Topics: Smoke Control, Fire Containment, Curtains, Fire Safety

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.

Read More

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

Corridor ventilation: smoke and temperature control

Posted by Conor Logan on 03/09/20 14:00

When it comes to corridor ventilation, two things must be taken into consideration: effective smoke evacuation in the event of a fire and preventing overheating, for day-to-day comfort ventilation.

Read More

Topics: Smoke Control, Pressurisation, Residential Buildings, Fire Safety

Technical Review of Approved Document B (Fire Safety)

Posted by Conor Logan on 26/08/20 14:00

Back in April I wrote about the consultation that the Housing Minister, Robert Jenrick MP released inviting comments on the plans for the future of construction, encompassing the recommendations of the Building a Safer Future recommendations from Dame Judith Hackitt i.e. the forthcoming Building Safety Bill which has now had is second reading in the House of Commons.

Read More

Topics: Smoke Control, Fire Safety

The impact of door size on smoke control design

Posted by Conor Logan on 24/06/20 10:00

One of the biggest challenges in the design of smoke control and pressurisation systems currently is the relatively recent trend towards installing full height doors which extend all the way to the underside of the ceiling, and/or very wide single leaf doors.

Read More

Topics: Smoke Control, CFD, Pressurisation

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:

Read More

Topics: Smoke Control, Smoke ventilation, HVAC, Controls