What is a smoke ventilation system?
Smoke control and ventilation systems can be either natural or mechanical systems that vent smoke out of a building to enable low level escape routes to be kept clear of smoke, aiding visibility in the case of an emergency. This makes it easier for occupants to escape from a fire, and also prevents further damage to a building. Different premises will have different needs for smoke control and ventilation systems depending on their size, style and the number of occupants within them. According to statistics published by the UK Government, the most common cause of death in the instance of a fire is a person being overcome by gas or smoke, leading to loss of consciousness and eventual loss of life.
An effective smoke control and ventilation system is therefore crucial in order to keep smoke away from commonly used areas in a building such as corridors, safety routes, staircases and lobbies. If a fire breaks out, an effective smoke detector should activate on every floor of a building, ensuring that occupants can easily and safely escape while the fire is in a state of infancy.
Natural versus mechanical ventilation systems
There are two main types of smoke control and ventilation systems – natural and mechanical. Natural ventilation systems use the natural movement of hot gasses to vent smoke through a ventilator. Natural systems use windows, vents and automatic opening vents (AOVs), and are used as part of UK Building Regulations. Natural systems can also offer everyday air ventilation. Mechanical systems require extraction and removal of smoke by forcing it through fans.
The need for replacement air
It is essential to have a supply of replacement air that takes the place of gasses and smoke that is extracted from a building. If replacement air doesn’t come in to a building, it will become depressurised. This air supply can be sourced from natural ventilators that are in a remote position away from a fire, automatic doors or from inlet ventilators that are positioned near the floor.
Why install a smoke ventilation system?
A smoke control and ventilation system greatly reduces the chances of building occupants choking or being overwhelmed by smoke. It reduces the risk of smoke inhalation around escape routes such as corridors and staircases, and makes it easier for emergency services to access a building. A well-implemented smoke control and ventilation system can reduce the risk of a fire developing and limit smoke damage to a building (as well as the equipment inside it such as computers and other technical equipment, or even personal possessions).
How do smoke detectors work?
A smoke control and ventilation system is activated by smoke detectors. Once activated, the system should force a natural flow of air into a building while smoke is removed.
Smoke control and ventilation systems with RES Fire Protection Engineers
We can design and commission a smoke control and ventilation system to suit the needs of your premises whilst meeting UK Building Regulations. We work with systems manufacturers and accredited service and maintenance providers to ensure that all systems we install comply with current legislation. Our experienced installers ensure that your ventilation system is installed correctly and on time. Our highly trained engineers will thoroughly test the installed system before handover. We offer smoke control and ventilation systems services covering the South of England including London, Berkshire, Bracknell, Windsor, Middlesex & Surrey, Oxfordshire, Hampshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, Essex & Kent, West & East Sussex, Reading, Maidenhead, Slough, Newbury and the surrounding areas.