Introduction to Smoke Ventilation
Why is smoke control installed in apartment buildings?
- In multi-storey apartment buildings, the main escape route is always via common corridors and/or lobbies to protected stairs.
- Smoke can easily spread from the accommodation, and if a door is simply left open for a short period of time quickly fill a corridor or lobby, making escape difficult for occupants.
- Smoke entering the stairs can also make escape difficult for occupants of higher storey’s.
- In taller buildings the fire and rescue services need clear access to stairs and lobbies to form a bridgehead for operations, using a fire fighting shaft which is protected from smoke.
Legislation and standards
The Requirements derive from the Building Regulations for England and Wales (2000). Detailed recommendations to meet these requirements are provided in Approved Document B (ADB) 2006.
In designing a building, the incorporation of a smoke control system can significantly improve the life safety protection of the building & is pretty much accepted today as “standard” life safety practice.
Smoke Control Systems (sometimes known as Fire Ventilation, AOV or Smoke Ventilation) come in many forms and range widely in complexity, but their basic objectives are usually the same.
The objectives of smoke control systems are:-
- To keep the escape routes free from smoke.
- To assist fire fighting operations by creating a smoke free layer.
- To reduce the thermal damage to the structural components during a fire.
- To reduce smoke and heat damage caused by the fire and associated hot gases.
Why is Smoke Control and Ventilation used?
It is to ensure that the Means of Escape routes for occupants of any building during a fire, along with the access routes for the fire fighters, are as clear of smoke as possible and it is also necessary to clear the smoke from a building after a fire.
An additional benefit to a well designed Smoke and Heat Exhaust Ventilation system (SHEVs) is that decreasing the spread of smoke in a fire reduces the risk of panic.
Where is Smoke Control and Ventilation Used?
- Large factories, warehouses and other storage buildings where exit points should be within 45m of any point in the building
- Large shops, stores and covered markets
- Covered shopping centres (or Malls), the landlords domain or common areas has its own extract system, this is not designed to take the smoke load from a large single retail premises.
- Where there is an atrium in a building
- Apartment buildings (especially single stair buildings and those over three floors)
- Where travel distances exceed those in Approved Document B
- Covered or underground car parks where there is no significant ventilation
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