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

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.

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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.

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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.

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Topics: Smoke Control, smoke control maintenance, 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.

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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

Smoke ventilation system maintenance: what you need to know

Posted by Tom Archer on 11/06/20 10:00

The failure to maintain smoke ventilation systems can be dire. After all, as we’ve mentioned before, whilst fire grabs more headlines, smoke is the real killer.

In fact, twice as many people die from smoke inhalation than they do from burns. Often smoke incapacitates so rapidly that victims are unable to make it to an otherwise accessible exit.

In this post, we will outline everything you need to know about smoke ventilation maintenance, including legislation, frequency, smoke ventilation maintenance services and more.

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Topics: smoke control maintenance

Covid 19 - Testing and Maintenance of Life Safety Systems

Posted by Nick Buckingham on 30/03/20 13:28

Testing and Maintenance of Life Safety Installations in buildings is mandatory under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order. Following the Prime Minister’s announcement at 8.30pm on 23 March 2020, it remains imperative that people living and working in the built environment are kept safe regardless of the current Covid-19 lockdown conditions. Fires still happen, emergencies do not respect crisis management.

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Topics: smoke control maintenance

Putting the onus on owners

Posted by Tom Archer on 11/03/20 10:00

The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government has issued new guidance for owners of multi-storey buildings in multiple occupancy. It brings together advice from the Independent Expert Advisory Panel in the wake of the Grenfell tragedy.

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Topics: smoke control maintenance

Smoke inhalation is the most important cause of fire related mortality and morbidity

Posted by Tom Archer on 30/10/19 14:00

The number one cause of death related to fires is smoke inhalation; it is the most common cause of death at the scene of a fire. An estimated 50%-80% of fire deaths are the result of smoke inhalation injuries (rather than burns). Smoke inhalation alone (in the absence of burns) is responsible for around 40% of all fire related deaths in England. But mortality and morbidity of burn patients increases significantly when combined with smoke inhalation injury: Inhalation injury increases the risk of death from a burn injury by 30% to 40%.
Smoke inhalation injury is in fact a more complex clinical problem than burns alone, and can lead to multiple complications. Initially, a person’s airways are affected, but in a very short space of time (minutes) it can become a complex life-threatening condition, affecting every organ in the body.

There’s no fire without smoke

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Topics: smoke control maintenance

The accountable person – why smoke control maintenance is vital

Posted by Tom Archer on 29/08/19 16:20

In the proposed changes to the building regulations discussed in our previous blog, there are two new roles connected with building safety. One is of the dutyholder, who takes responsibility for the design and construction of the systems that will make the building safe. The other is the accountable person, who is responsible for ensuring that systems are maintained properly.

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Topics: smoke control maintenance

Smoke is different to fire. Why you need a specialist maintenance provider.

Posted by Tom Archer on 31/07/19 15:05

While many know that they need to keep their smoke control systems maintained, a lot of building owners or operators are not fully aware of the details of what this should entail.

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Topics: smoke control maintenance