Smoke ventilation systems are a key part of the protection a building has in the event of a fire. They are also a potential part of the way that a fire could be fought if there was one in the building. There are clear smoke vent regulations in the UK that property owners need to be aware of and the best products that will help meet them.
What do smoke vents do?
The idea behind a smoke ventilation system is that it helps to keep escape and access routes clear from smoke in the event of a fire. This makes it easier and safer for people to evacuate the building and can also help by allowing access for firefighters to combat the fire.
An automatic opening vent or AOV ensures that the system operates without the need for manual oversight if the required conditions are met.
The right ventilation system can help to reduce the risk of damage to the building and protect the contents of it as well as work towards stopping the fire from spreading. It is a key part of the overall fire strategy for a commercial, residential, healthcare or educational building.
What are the main smoke vent requirements?
There are somewhat different regulations and smoke vent requirements depending on the type and size of the building that you own or operate. So it is always best to check with your local authority as to exactly what applies to you.
However, there are a few general rules that will apply to any system installed to manage smoke ventilation. Examples of these include:
- The product must be CE certified to the relevant UK Construction Product Regulations or a harmonised European standard
- AOV systems are required to meet the SHEV standard EN12101-2
- The BS7346-8 Code of Practice covers the design, installation, commissioning and maintenance of the system
- Approved Document B covers building regulations including vent locations and limiting fire spread measures
How to find a great smoke vent
There are plenty of different options when it comes to styles, brands and features in the smoke ventilation systems. One of the stand-out options on the market is the Mardome Smoke Vent Rooflight.
This product complies with BS EN 12101-2 and also offers great U-values to help with energy efficiency. You can have a range of finishes and there are extras such as wind deflectors that also help with weatherproofing the property.
In addition to the fire benefits, these polycarbonate dome rooflights also allow for natural light to come into the building and heat to escape. They are suitable for all modern flat roofs and allow for natural ventilation as well as complying with relevant building regulations.
How often should AOVs be serviced?
Once the smoke ventilation system has been installed, there are requirements under British Standard BS7346-8 that state it needs to have a minimum of two service visits per year. These need to be carried out by trained engineers who can check the system to ensure it works as designed.
If the system shows any signs of not functioning as required, then the engineer can look at repairs or replacement equipment to ensure that the building’s smoke ventilation continues to meet legal requirements.