Are your smoke control systems properly installed and maintained?

How properly working smoke ventilation systems help save lives and buildings

By venting smoke from the building, the occupants can see the fire exits more easily, making escape routes more effective. By venting smoke from the building, firefighters have an easier job of locating the fire early on and extinguishing it, thereby containing and eliminating it faster.

By venting heat from the building, the number of sprinkler heads that operate is focused directly over the fire rather than over a wide expanse – reserving the precious water supply for the sprinklers directly above the fire. Venting heat from the building also means the high-level temperatures are reduced. This retains the structural integrity of the steelwork for longer, potentially avoiding complete building collapse.

What a smoke control maintenance visit should look like

A smoke test or functionality test is no substitute for a proper service. If your current servicer is not conducting full motor resistance and load tests, checking battery charge rates and identifying cause and effect of any failures, then your system is not being tested robustly enough to ensure that it will be fully functional in the event of a real fire.

Colt carries out thorough, notarised testing on all the systems we maintain and our engineers receive full technical training on all system types when they join our team. This is refreshed regularly and supplemented whenever there are important developments or updates to the legal requirements.

Understand your legal obligations

For life safety equipment such as smoke control systems, the building operator or owner is required by law to provide a suitable system of maintenance to maintain the system in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair.

The UK’s most competent servicer

Colt was the first UK smoke business to be certified to both IFCC SDI 19 and SDI 05, as a competent installer and servicer of smoke control systems. Find out more about our engineers’ training, our accreditations and our health and safety practices.

Not sure if your systems need a service? We can tell you, for free.

Common mistakes we see on our maintenance site visits

All too frequently when our service engineers are visiting new sites, they find dangerous, irresponsible installations and systems that have been neglected, causing them to under-perform. If these systems were expected to perform at full capacity when a fire broke out, the consequences could be catastrophic.

Therefore, we’ve put together a list of the most common mistakes we see on our daily visits. If your systems have similar symptoms, do not waste time in repairing or reinstalling them straight away.

  • Items for fire and smoke release not being wired in fire-rated cable, FP for example, which could cause the unit to fail close in a fire.
  • Magnets used instead of motors on smoke shafts, magnets lose power and fail to open causing smoke in shafts to open on wrong floors with the disastrous consequence of smoke in the wrong place.
  • Fusible Links with screws and bolts fitted to join them together as the service provider didn’t have spares. These units will then never part company in a fire.
  • Air leaks not fixed properly, insulation tape wrapped around leaking joints to prevent air escaping instead of a proper repair. This causes the compressor to over-run and burn out.
  • Service providers closing vents down with concrete blocks as a temporary measure. With blocks instead of proper brackets, the vents are snow loaded and will open with this weight and if they do open it will cause the concrete block to fall inside the building.

If your systems have been neglected, we can help.