Testing and commissioning smoke control systems: what to watch out for

Posted by Conor Logan on 04/10/16 12:00

As a designer, specifier or building owner, you will want to be sure that your smoke ventilation system will provide fire safety in all situations.

Design on paper versus the practical realities of construction

It is all very easy to design on paper a system that provides a certain duty and airflow, but this often does not take into consideration the practical aspects of constructing a building. There are some potential pitfalls to avoid to ensure that your smoke shaft or pressurisation system will function as intended.

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Topics: Smoke ventilation, Smoke shafts, commissioning, Pressurisation

What type of vent do you need for a smoke shaft system?

Posted by Paul Compton on 05/07/16 12:00

When designing smoke shaft systems, which type of vent do you need?

Types 

The choice is short and sweet as there are only 3 basic types available:

  • A smoke damper mounted behind a grille
  • A bottom hung motorised flap
  • A motorised fire door.

Seems a simple choice, but there’s more to it than aesthetics, as you’ll see.

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Topics: Smoke ventilation, Smoke shafts

Designing a smoke control system to achieve extended travel distances

Posted by Paul Compton on 28/06/16 12:00

When designing ventilation schemes for common corridors in residential developments, it is now possible to go beyond simply creating a building design that is compliant, by allowing corridors to be extended beyond the travel distances permitted in ADB.

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Topics: Smoke ventilation, Smoke shafts, Smoke Shaft Series

Do you need natural or mechanical smoke shafts?

Posted by Paul Compton on 21/06/16 12:00

Smoke shafts in multi-storey buildings take up potentially valuable space, so keeping the shafts as small as possible is beneficial and has led to mechanical shafts becoming a popular choice.

But are they always the best choice? We look at some of the issues.

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Topics: Smoke ventilation, Smoke shafts

The impact of door size on smoke control design

Posted by Conor Logan on 12/04/16 12:00

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.

While there are no regulations governing the height of the doors which separate corridors, lobbies and stairs in a commercial or residential building, from a smoke ventilation point of view, full height or “oversize” doors can be problematic.

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Topics: Smoke Control, Pressurisation, Smoke shafts

Q&A from 'smoke control versus pressurisation' webinar

Posted by Paul Compton on 16/02/16 12:00

I received some excellent questions during the Q&A section during the recent webinar that I presented. Here you can see my answers to these questions, slightly edited for clarity.

There is also a recording of the webinar available.

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Topics: Webinar, Pressurisation, Smoke shafts, CPD

What are the options for smoke control when changing the use of a building?

Posted by Paul Compton on 09/02/16 12:00

Owing to the different types of occupancy patterns, the Building Regulations rightly provide differing guidance for commercial and residential buildings.

So, when a building changes use, assuming that the developer is not prepared to alter the layout of the stair, it is likely that Building Control will insist on a fire engineered solution leading to the highest degree of protection in terms of the smoke control system

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Topics: Webinar, Pressurisation, Smoke shafts, Residential Buildings

Smoke and environmental ventilation of multi-storey buildings using shafts webinar Q&A

Posted by Paul Compton on 21/07/15 11:30

Here is a copy of the questions and answers from our recent webinar on smoke and environmental ventilation of multi-storey buildings using shafts, slightly edited for clarity.

During the webinar I introduced our new whitepaper on the subject, which you can download here.

There is also a recording of the webinar available here.

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Topics: Webinar, Smoke ventilation, Smoke shafts

How to avoid depressurisation of lobbies when using mechanical shaft systems for smoke control

Posted by Paul Compton on 14/07/15 11:30

Mechanical shaft systems have plenty of advantages compared to a BRE Shaft or any natural system but they suffer from one major disadvantage compared to natural shaft systems.

Why depressurisation can be an issue with with mechanical shaft systems

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Topics: Smoke Control, Smoke shafts, Corridor ventilation

Protecting escape routes: Smoke shafts v pressurisation webinar Q&A

Posted by Paul Compton on 28/04/15 11:30

At our recent webinar on smoke shafts v pressurisation, I received some excellent questions during the Q&A section. Here you can see my answers to these questions, slightly edited for clarity. 

There is also a recording of the webinar available.

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Topics: Smoke Control, Webinar, Pressurisation, Smoke shafts

Seven good practices for pressurisation systems

Posted by Paul Compton on 14/04/15 11:30

As a designer or specifier, you want to be sure that your smoke ventilation system will provide fire safety in all situations.  If your design includes a pressurisation system, there are a few pitfalls to avoid. Here are seven good practices that will help you avoid them and design an effective pressurisation system:

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Topics: Pressurisation, Smoke shafts

Smoke and environmental ventilation of multi-storey buildings webinar Q&A

Posted by Paul Compton on 09/12/14 11:30

At our recent webinar on smoke and environmental ventilation of multi-storey buildings using shafts, we had a large attendance with many questions asked. Here you can see my answers to these questions, slightly edited for clarity. 

There is also a recording of the webinar available. Watching the recorded version will still enable you to claim CPD points.

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Topics: Webinar, Smoke ventilation, Smoke shafts, CPD

Everything you ever wanted to know about designing smoke shaft systems

Posted by Paul Compton on 25/11/14 11:34

We have seen a lot of interest in our technical articles, webinars and website pages on smoke shaft systems, so we thought we would gather links to all our free resources in one blog to make it easy to find everything you may need.

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Topics: Webinar, Smoke shafts, Whitepaper

Key considerations for smoke shaft systems: 8. Dual purpose systems

Posted by Paul Compton on 02/09/14 11:30

In the last article in our series about designing smoke shaft systems, we discuss dual purpose systems.

Why dual purpose?

  • Is your current project an apartment block?
  • Are your corridors landlocked?
  • Is the building well sealed and insulated? (of course it is)

And most importantly:

  • Do you have hot water pipes running above the corridor ceilings?

If you’ve answered yes to all four questions you need a dual purpose system.

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Topics: Smoke ventilation, Smoke shafts, Smoke Shaft Series

Key considerations for smoke shaft systems: 7. Power

Posted by Paul Compton on 19/08/14 11:30

In the seventh and penultimate article in our series about designing smoke shaft systems, we discuss power requirements.

Natural shafts

One of the major advantages of natural systems is the very low power requirement. Most systems use 24V ventilators and run off standard 230V single phase supplies, with standby power provided by a battery back up unit which transforms and rectifies the incoming power to charge the batteries and drive the ventilators. The batteries then provide a temporary source of power in case of loss of mains supply. This is ideal for residential buildings that may not have a 3 phase supply.

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Topics: Smoke ventilation, Smoke shafts, Smoke Shaft Series