An adequate smoke ventilation system is an essential part of any building. The reason for this is fairly straightforward: this type of system will make sure that, in the case of a fire, smoke is led up and out of the building, allowing occupants to escape with reduced risk of harm and facilitating the effective work of fire service personnel.Smoke ventilation has many different applications in a wide range of structures. Each of these different buildings will have different needs and requirements when it comes to the system installed, as each construction features a different structure, and will rely on natural ventilation, mechanical ventilation or a blend of both in its design.The first notable application of this kind of system is in residential buildings. In many cases, residential buildings that have three storeys or more will require a smoke ventilation system to be put in place in order to adhere to building controls.Although there are different types of system able to be installed in this type of property, some of the most common types include Automatic Opening Vents (AOVs) placed at the head of stairwells, AOVs placed in corridors and smoke shafts. All of these combine to provide a ventilation system that is capable of handling emergencies.

Another place where this type of system is installed is in public buildings and premises such as retail outlets and shopping centres. As with residential buildings, this system is absolutely essential in preventing major loss of life in the case of a destructive blaze.In addition to the stairwells and corridor ventilation that is present in residential buildings, many retail buildings and shopping centres tend to have wide open atria that will house most of the building’s occupants in the case of a fire. For this reason, these areas must be fitted with the right AOVs in order to provide life saving functions.For those who work in large commercial buildings and offices, it is also essential to have the right type of ventilation system in place to cope with an emergency scenario such as a fire. The structure of these buildings can vary, yet many resemble residential buildings in some sense, and therefore benefit from corridor AOVs, head of stairwell AOVs and smoke shaft facilities.In addition to this, it is possible to install AOV windows, AOV façade louvres and AOV roof vents to allow offices to preserve their aesthetic all whilst providing critical smoke evacuation capabilities. These will ensure that occupants can escape the building effectively, and that fire fighters have safer access throughout the building’s common areas in the event of a fire.These can also apply to premises such as hotels, where loss of a larger number of lives is also a possibility in the event of a fire. Many hotels need to provide adequate smoke ventilation, yet must preserve their aesthetic, in which case the solutions mentioned above for office spaces are often relevant.

In addition to this, hotel façades generally comprise of guests’ rooms, so often the means of escape stairwells are ‘room locked’. This means that smoke shafts and BRE smoke shafts are used in each building’s interior to provide smoke ventilation to the common areas.These are just a few of the many applications of smoke ventilation in various different buildings. Although these are examples of systems that are put in place in buildings where there is potentially a great loss of life, there are many other different kinds for other types of premises.These can include car parks, warehouses, industrial facilities, hospitals and many more that have very specific needs. The end result is the same, however, with an adequate system being able to protect the lives of building occupants who find themselves in an emergency situation.

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