The challenges of smoke control in existing multi-occupancy buildings

53 per cent of all fire-related fatalities are a direct result of smoke inhalation but many multi-occupancy buildings of 3-20+ floors still have no effective smoke control system for areas of common use and corridors.

An effective smoke control system not only provides protection to residents but to the fabric of the building itself. Products such as the Whitesales Em-Louvre™, certified to BS EN12101-2, ensure effective release of smoke and heat from stairwells, corridors, lobbies and atria, thereby ensuring escape routes are kept clear. Providing high performance and ease of installation, this fully-certified smoke vent for façade apertures or curtain walling means retro-fitting in existing as well as new façades is straightforward. The Em-Louvre™ can also be used to provide low-level fresh air and comfort ventilation.

As an integral element of smoke evacuation, the Em-Louvre™ opens to 90⁰ in under 60 seconds and incorporates anti-trapping actuators which prevent injury and any risk of a fall from height. Its guaranteed aerodynamic area value provides assurance of continued performance in the presence of considerable wind loading.

The Em-Louvre can be specified either with insulated aluminium or double / triple glazed blades to maximise the use of natural light in their immediate vicinity. 24V DC actuators open to full stroke in under 60 seconds using minimal electrical consumption. The design incorporates a soft-close and anti-trapping feature which makes the product suitable for use in highly trafficked areas.

United Living, one of the UK’s leading providers of refurbished and new build living solutions, consulted Whitesales to design and supply automatic smoke ventilation for a series of seven apartment blocks in Dagenham and Barking. Each building’s stairways and communal corridors required a smoke control solution to provide residents with the safest possible escape routes in the event of fire. Whitesales provided calculations and costings to the main contractor for the required ventilation area together with options for configuration of wiring schematics and loading data for the M&E team. Having done so, Whitesales also carried out the installation, all to a tight schedule and in collaboration with the entire project team, local authority, fire risk assessment officer and London Fire Brigade. Essentially, a plug-and-play NSHEV system was created with minimal additional wiring requirements. In addition to outperforming the required standard, this has since been shown to have improved living standards through the provision of passive comfort cooling. 80 Em-Louvre smoke vents and associated control panels, thermostats and switches were installed, the vents being fitted into existing frames without modification. They feature impact-resistant, toughened clear glazing which floods communal areas with natural light.

Whitesales routinely provide smoke control assessments in accordance with fire strategy documentation and have extensive experience of working in occupied buildings with minimal disruption.

To see the full range of Whitesales smoke and access products, visit: