Natural smoke ventilation systems, otherwise known as AOVs, are an essential component of fire safety strategies in buildings. These systems, along with mechanical smoke ventilation, are part of a building's "Life Safety Systems". Life Safety Systems are designed to save lives in the event of a fire. Their primary purpose is to facilitate the safe evacuation of occupants and enable early firefighting efforts.
The main objective of an AOV is to control the movement of smoke during a fire incident. By effectively managing smoke and heat, these systems ensure that escape routes remain clear and accessible for occupants. This includes areas such as corridors and staircases. This allows for the safe and compliant evacuation of buildings and provides firefighters with suitable access points.
As dedicated members of the Smoke Control Association, G.S Stothers Smoke Ventilation Specialists are at the forefront of promoting and enhancing the design, supply, installation, and commissioning of these systems. We prioritise the use of independently tested and certified products, ensuring the highest standards of quality and reliability in all our installations.
The choice of ventilation system for a building is often influenced by its design, taking into consideration British Standard (BS) requirements that vary based on factors such as building height and the distance between the furthest entrance door and the nearest escape route.
Natural ventilation is an approach to introduce fresh air into a building or room using passive methods, which typically rely on wind speed or pressure differentials between the interior and exterior environments.
These systems can exhaust air directly through external walls and roofs by utilising elements such as windows, louvres, and roof lights. Alternatively, they can utilise internal smoke shafts equipped with smoke dampers.
Smoke and heat ventilation systems (SHEVs) can be activated automatically through smoke detection or fire alarm interfaces, or manually through call points or break glasses. When triggered, these systems fully open within a 60-second timeframe to swiftly remove smoke.
SHEVs can be programmed to reset and close automatically or manually controlled through the building's control system.
The team at G.S. Stothers Mechanical & Electrical Engineering Ltd can assist in the design, supply, installation and commissioning, as well as offer maintenance packages for all types of smoke & heat ventilation systems. A choice has to be made between natural or mechanical ventilation, and our team are experts in selecting the right system for your building.
Natural smoke ventilation uses the natural buoyancy of the hot gases to drive the smoke flow through the ventilators. Such systems often have a dual function and provide both smoke ventilation and day to day ventilation. An alternative option is mechanical smoke ventilation, which relies on mechanical extraction through fans.