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Wednesday 24 January 2018

Considering the relative roles of Smoke Ventilation Systems and Sprinklers

Following recent events, there has been a lot of discussion and debate in the media about the relative merits of ‘active’ systems such as sprinklers and ‘passive’ systems such as fire rated glass and smoke containment systems for protection against fire spread in buildings.

These debates have been mainly initiated by the manufacturers of such products and systems and have largely failed to address the key role that smoke ventilation or SHEV (Smoke and Heat Exhaust Ventilation) systems can play in protecting building occupants as well as helping to  maintain the integrity of the buildings themselves.

The first point to be emphasised is that gas or smoke inhalation account for the largest proportion of deaths caused by fire in buildings. Therefore smoke ventilation design should always be considered as a priority and a key part of the overall fire protection strategy for any building.

Smoke ventilation systems can prevent smoke logging which will help to assist escape from the building and also assist the Fire Brigade in locating and tackling the fire.
The sprinkler system will serve to limit the spread of fire but offers limited reduction in smoke damage.

The conclusion is simple: sprinklers and smoke ventilation systems each have a role to play. The safest solution will often result from careful integration of smoke ventilation and sprinkler systems.

We can provide specification and design support for smoke ventilation systems and welcome opportunities to wo

rk with sprinkler system suppliers to provide effective integration.

For further information, you may be interested in booking our CPD Seminar, entitled: ‘Smoke: Tackling the Deadly Enemy’.