University of Glasgow (ARC)

Colt designs and installs a unique smoke ventilation system at Glasgow Uni's new advanced research centre.

Colt’s team of expert designers collaborated with and supported HOK Architects and M&E Consultant WSP with the design of a smoke ventilation system at the University of Glasgow’s new Advanced Research Centre (ARC).

The ARC building’s entrance opens up into a large atrium, which is the area that Colt was tasked with designing a smoke extraction system for. Constructed almost entirely of glass, the 23m high atrium is an impressive sight, offering a view straight through the top of the ceiling from the ground floor level. This offered some design challenges, as the main extract fans needed to be positioned on the roof to enable effective ventilation. However, this would clearly affect the visual impact of the building’s design - something that needed to be avoided.

Fortunately, our experienced designers were able to work with HOK to develop a design that enabled the fans to be positioned on an extension to the side of the roof and in the walls, rather than directly above the atrium. This alternative solution from the Colt team enabled the building’s unique design to stay true to the original architectural vision. Internally, the extract systems were presented as decorative grilles installed high up near the top of the ceiling, which were challenging to install at height and surrounded by glass. Using a spider boom, our installers carefully managed to manoeuvre the 2m² grilles into place 20m+ above the first-floor level, avoiding any damage to the surrounding glass.

Our team also had to work around some unforeseen building geometries because of a discrepancy between the space available on the roof and the space required for fans large enough to provide adequate extract for the atrium. Through some clever, rapid redesigns, our designers were able to provide a solution that overcame all the challenges presented by this issue and the fans were installed within the space provided.

On this particular design, our team installed ten fans, with one of these being a back-up fan. This means that when the smoke control system is activated by the smoke detector, nine fans will immediately start running, but if there is a failure detected with one of them, the tenth fan will start up to replace it, ensuring continual extract at the right level.
As well as the main ask to provide smoke ventilation for the atrium, the ARC building also has four stairwells that need protection. For these, we installed four standalone stairwell smoke extract systems that are designed to clear any smoke that may get into the stairwells – these are completely separate to the atrium system and operate from their own set of controls. As per the Scottish standards, these systems were installed with two manual call point switches – one at the bottom of the stairwell and one at the top.

In addition to providing smoke extract in case of a fire, the Colt system in the ARC building is also controlled by heat sensors. These allow the building manager to set a specific temperature in the BMS at which the louvred ventilators on the roof will be activated to open naturally (without powered extract) in order to provide day to day ventilation and lower the internal temperature within the building.

If you are working on a challenging project and require an experienced and solution-oriented smoke control partner, contact Colt’s experts today.

  • Project:
    • University of Glasgow, ARC (Advanced Research Centre)
  • Location:
    • Glasgow
  • Client:
    • Glasgow University
  • M&E Consultant:
    • WSP
  • Architect:
    • HOK
  • Main Contractor:
    • Multiplex Construction Europe Ltd.
  • M&E Contractor:
    • FES Ltd.
  • Colt products:
    • Stairwell systems
    • ECO ventilators type 1515
    • VCP control panel
    • MCP switches
    • Atrium extract system
    • 760mm diameter smoke extract axial fans
    • ECO ventilators type 1011
    • Decorative grilles
    • MCC external control panel
    • Colt OPV control system