Fire Design Solutions’ experience in the residential sector has enabled our team to build strong relationships with the UK’s leading developers, allowing us to work on some of the country’s most high profile developments.
The extraction of smoke in any residential development is vital for the safety of its occupants as well as access for the fire service.
With cities becoming more densely populated than ever, and developers having to build upwards, the requirements for highly efficient smoke ventilation systems have never been so strict.
Depending on a building’s designs, we offer two main types of smoke ventilation systems – natural smoke ventilation systems and mechanical smoke ventilation systems (MSVS). Whilst they both boast a number of benefits, there are a variety of factors that must be taken into consideration when deciding on the most appropriate system.
Residential Natural Ventilation System
As stated under Approved Document Part B (ADB), a natural ventilation system is the primary system used to satisfy Building Regulations.
By utilising windows/vents, automatic opening vents (AOV) or, where there is no external wall, a vertical smoke shaft, a natural system uses the wind and thermal buoyancy (where hot air rises and draws in colder, denser air) to remove smoke.
One of the main benefits of a natural system is its simplicity. The limited components required for this system makes it the cheaper smoke venting solution, as well as limiting its noise pollution, removing the requirement for acoustic silencers and keeping overall costs to a minimum.
By taking this code-compliant approach, developers reduce the risk of building control finding the fire safety system to be insufficient, which may add to overall construction times and costs.
There are, however, design limitations with a natural ventilation system. The requirement by ADB for a minimum of 1.5m2 smoke shafts can reduce the saleable space within a residential development, minimising profits for the developers. In light of this, developers could look to use a MSVS.
The Four Steps of Natural Smoke Ventilation
Residential Mechanical Ventilation System
Unlike a natural system, a MSVS utilises powered fans that are connected to fire dampers, which open once smoke is detected, rapidly removing smoke in the event of a fire.
Their improved efficiency makes them the most appropriate system for buildings which feature large open areas, where travel distances need to be extended beyond ADB requirements. MSVS also allow for an engineered approach to be taken.
For common corridors in residential flats above 11m tall, ADB requires a maximum travel distance of 7.5m where a resident can only escape in one direction, whilst the maximum travel distance in a corridor where a resident can escape in more than one direction is 30m.
By taking an engineered approach, where a MSVS is included in the fire design, it’s possible to justify the inclusion of only one escape route (removing the second staircase), freeing up additional saleable space.
Although the initial cost of a MSVS is much greater than a natural system, its components can be used with other systems – such as our corridor environmental system which utilises the MSVS’ smoke shaft and dampers. This reduces costs by removing the need to install costly air conditioning units, which can be particularly beneficial in built-up urban areas where temperatures are commonly higher.
The Four Steps of Mechanical Smoke Ventilation
Service and Maintenance
Fire Design Solutions provides ongoing maintenance for both our natural and mechanical ventilation systems to ensure our systems are working to maximum efficiency, as well as an emergency call out service support.
For more information download our Smoke Ventilation Systems brochure or call us on +44 (0)1322 387411. Alternatively you can contact our team today about your project by emailing email@example.com.
To learn about the advantages of using smoke ventilation systems in commercial premises, visit: FDS Commercial Smoke Ventilation Systems