Within building design and improvement, it’s critical to consider not just the mechanics of fire and smoke detection, but the practical measures which can be taken to reduce or eliminate the danger once residents or occupants are alerted to the presence of fire. This is because it takes just two minutes for an individual to become incapacitated by smoke inhalation to the extent that their safety is compromised. If there is more oxygen in the area, this affords more time. However, fire consumes oxygen to burn, which means that levels are decreasing incrementally for as long as the fire is not quenched.
The factors that need to be considered when designing a smoke-control system for a building are far-reaching. Thorough analysis of the proposed fire strategy and design of the common escape routes is essential. In other cases, it is necessary to consider the objectives and performance criteria for the system. Regulation compliance is paramount – as life-saving devices, systems must meet, or exceed standards, and achieve strict performance criteria.
Given this, the more options provided within a building to increase smoke ventilation, the safer inhabitants will be. Smoke-control products, such as smoke vents or louvres, are life-saving devices that greatly increase occupants’ chances of survival in the event of fire. An effective smoke-control system not only provides protection to residents, however, but to the fabric of the building itself. Fully certified automatic smoke-ventilation systems reduce smoke and heat build-up. These simple, cost-effective measures provide people in the presence of smoke with invaluable additional time to safeguard themselves.
The primary function of a smoke-ventilation system is to protect the staircase and common circulation areas by quickly dissipating smoke build-up. The performance criteria and the design of the system will therefore vary depending on the layout of the common corridors or lobby of the building. Often a building’s design will determine which ventilation system is most appropriate, with British Standards guidance varying depending on the building’s height and the distance from the furthest apartment entrance door to the nearest escape route. Where appropriate the system selected can be driven by design aspirations, space constraints or architectural restrictions.
There are two key types of smoke-ventilation system: natural and mechanical. Natural systems use the natural buoyancy of hot gases to drive smoke flow through ventilators, such as louvres. Mechanical systems are powered smoke ventilation and rely on the mechanical extraction of smoke through fans. Both types of system can also have a dual function and provide both smoke ventilation and comfort ventilation.
At Whitesales, we offer the most advanced and cost-effective smoke-control solutions to suit any project requirements, whether mechanical or natural. We offer the UK’s largest range of stocked smoke-ventilation products. In addition, we manufacture and supply a broad range of smoke-control components: special-sized vents; made-to-measure glazed louvre vents, certified single component, crane-able mechanical SHEVs, unique to the UK market. Our extensive range of products is designed and manufactured to ISO 9001, CE marked and fully certified, and meets the requirements of Building Regulations AD B and AD L.
From supply-only to a full-service consultancy, design and support, we can meet any requirement. We provide certification advice, design consultation and site surveys, bespoke CAD drawing and custom design. In addition, we offer commissioning, servicing and emergency call-outs for existing SHEVs installations.
Whatever the building, whatever the sector, our design experience and product range ensure we provide outstanding solutions.
For more information, go to www.whitesales.co.uk