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.
Accordingly many BCOs will insist on pressurisation, but this can be problematic, since it may be that the layout means that pressurisation is simply not possible.
Help is at hand. In many instances there may be a valid alternative, which includes shaft systems.
Protecting escape routes: smoke shafts versus pressurisation
How do you decide which to use? The decision is influenced by legislation and standards, building configuration, budget and space requirements. There is no universal “right” choice, but there’s certainly a best choice for each individual building.
You can learn more about this by watching our webinar on “Protecting escape routes: smoke shafts v pressurisation”.
We’ve also written a whitepaper to accompany this webinar, which can be downloaded from this link.
Paul Compton is Technical Director for Colt, experienced in smoke control, HVAC, solar shading and louvre systems.