by Will Mason
Tel: 020 8541 5646
Fire Systems Ltd, is offering a free site survey’s to review your smoke vent systems and offer a competitive price to maintain and repair any faulty units.
We will further reduce our cost, if we are able to maintain any other fire protection equipment on the site, such as your fire alarm system or to carry out your fire alarm testing.
If you look across the London Skyline and many cities in the UK, you will observe the increase in apartment blocks, due to the increasing cost of real estate. However, when more people live together in close proximity within the same structure, the fire safety requirements of such buildings are greatly increased. There is a need to ensure all fire safety measures that were designed and installed at the time of the handover of the building to the owner, are fully operational throughout during the use of the building.
Should a fire break out in such a property, the fire protection equipment installed needs to be fully operational at all times. This will ensure the fire design strategy for the building, gives the occupants every chance of escaping the fire. In this video we will be focusing on the smoke vent Systems.
The legal responsibility to ensure all fire protection equipment such as smoke vent systems and fire alarm systems are maintained and fully operational, rest with the ‘Responsible Person’ This would be the owner of the property or the employer. Usually the work is delegated out to managing agents and facility companies.
The legal responsibility to ensure this happens will be in accordance with the fire legislation the ‘The Regulatory Reform Order 2005’. It states that it is the responsibility of the ‘Responsible’ person. This will be the owner of the property or the employer, and they in turn will usually have appointed a managing agent or a facilities company to manage the property on their behalf.
In the event of fire within an apartment block the greatest danger to the occupants is not the heat from the fire itself, but the smoke. Even a relatively small fire can reduce visibility that the people trying to escape are unable to locate the escape routes.
The fire protection equipment installed to minimize the effects due to a build up of smoke and heat, are the smoke vent systems for the building. This can be in the form of an automatic smoke vents or AOV’s, at the top of the stairwells or a vent in the communal corridor escape routes leading to a smoke shaft or an outside wall.
The reasons smoke control is installed in such buildings are as follows:
The smoke vents can be operated ‘manually’ or ‘automatically’, depending on the requirements of the building design, stated in ‘Approved Document B’ or ‘BS9999’.
Manual operation of the smoke vents will usually be in the form of a manual call point at the bottom and top of the stairwell. The colour is usually a bright yellow for easy visibility. Automatic operation will have either a local smoke detector contacted directly to the smoke vent system or interfaces to a fire alarm system. On operation of the fire alarm, a signal is sent to the required smoke vents and the activation of the smoke vent will occur.
The benefits of having the smoke vents controlled automatically, is the escape routes can begin to clear the build up of smoke immediately it is detected and disperse the build up of heat. This will give the occupants more time to escape, increase visibility for people escaping and assist the fire brigade using the escape routes for their operations.
During the building design, the escape routes were extended due to the installation of the smoke vents. Therefore, it is important for the safety of the occupants that all smoke vents are working correctly as per the fire strategy design of the building.
To ensure that all the smoke vents within a building is working correctly a maintenance program needs to be implemented. The maintenance will not only include the testing and maintaining of the smoke vents, but in the case of automatic units linked to the fire alarm system, the fire alarm or smoke detection system is tested in accordance with the relative standards in the case of fire alarms BS5839-1.
Due to the cost of maintaining smoke control systems many residential apartments have faulty units and cannot afford to have them repaired. However, it is crucial that smoke vents are in good working order at all times.
Fire Systems Ltd, now offer a cost effective alternative and are able to offer substantial savings to property management companies, especially, if we are maintaining all the fire safety equipment within that property. This can include:
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