What is Smoke Ventilation?

Smoke ventilation is an integral and critical part of a building’s design and life safety systems. During a fire, toxic smoke can build up in passageways making it more difficult to breathe and navigate toward a safe exit. According to Home Office data, more people are seriously injured or die in buildings as a result of the smoke than the fire itself.

Smoke Ventilation Systems are installed in buildings to help address this specific problem; Vents of specific types, sizes and locations are designed into the building fabric which are then operated in a particular combination in the event of a fire to help quickly exhaust smoke and heat.

This provides a clearer and safe escape for building occupants, and aids access for the fire service. Because of the importance of reacting quickly to fire risks these vents are now almost always automated as part of a smoke ventilation system, which may be linked to the fire alarm system.

Design and Delivery in New Buildings

When designing Systems for New Buildings, appropriate solutions are normally selected and dictated by design teams or fire consultants following the relevant regulations and best practices according to the type of building. You can learn more about the main regulations here. These systems normally employ secondary power or battery backups to ensure they can still operate in the event of primary power failure during a fire.

Some common Smoke Vent Terms:

  • AOV – Automated Opening Vent
  • NSHEV – Natural Smoke and Heat Exhaust Ventilator
  • Call point – Another name for a break glass unit to
    manually trigger the system

Once the system has been designed, it falls upon the contractors delivering that system to ensure that all specifications and regulations must have been met – and the system must be handed over with a full audit trail that all individual components and the system as a whole is certified and fully documented.

As this can be a complex process, engaging a specialist like Kilpatrick Blane Services can help make for a smoother and more cost effective delivery, and ensure compliance and obligations are fully achieved. You can get a further introduction to typical smoke vent systems here