The Benefits of an Integrated Approach

Due to the intricacy of fire safety and smoke ventilation systems, engaging with a single specialist contractor for design, installation and commissioning as well as service and maintenance can have significant benefits for a project and the building.

Fire and smoke control systems are often complex, with the type, configuration and specification of the selected system depending on a range of factors including the building’s use and physical characteristics. To achieve compliance with all relevant building regulations and standards, the solution must be carefully designed, tested, installed, commissioned and then serviced regularly throughout the life of the building. Each one of these elements requires a specialist set of skills and knowledge, but there are substantial advantages to working with a smaller number of partner organisations.

This is where specialist contractors that deliver an end-to-end service are invaluable. They provide a single, integrated team to oversee that element of the project from start to finish and offer a seamless transition from design to installation, to commissioning and finally handover. This means a more complete understanding of the project, simpler communication and fewer potential disruptions to the build. A more streamlined process will also help achieve a swifter, issue free approval by Building Control.

However, there are also other factors that must be considered when choosing a design and installation partner. For example, developers and building owners must ensure that a thorough evaluation of the options has been carried out to achieve the best possible result. Specialist contractors with experienced design teams and in-house consultants will be able to create a solution that is optimised to maximise usable space and utilise budget in the most effective way. This experience and expertise will also allow fire safety challenges of the planned internal layout to be resolved and help the end result remain true to the architect’s design intention.

To do this, designers will often employ digital simulation and testing techniques such as Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) modelling. When applied to fire safety design, CFD modelling uses a detailed virtual representation of the building to map the spread of fire and smoke. This enables the smoke ventilation system to be planned as part of the overall fire safety strategy and incorporated into the virtual model. The simulation is then run again to test the effectiveness of the proposed systems and configurations to identify opportunities for improvement and optimisation.

It is also important to engage with a supplier that can offer a complete solution for the whole project, including air quality and emergency smoke ventilation for car park areas and corridor environmental systems to prevent unwanted heat build-up in communal areas.

Furthermore, following completion of the build, it is vital that a schedule of regular planned maintenance is established. This ensures continued compliance with the regulations and provides peace of mind for end clients and building owners. Where possible, it is beneficial to have inspections and maintenance carried out by the company that installed the system. Its team will have greater knowledge of the building and the products installed as well as the history of repairs and replacements.

Fire Design Solutions was founded on the need to have reliable, efficient installation services and, as specialists in smoke ventilation, we offer a complete end-to-end service for design, installation and maintenance. Through our consultancy division, we provide full fire engineering and strategy services. We can also deliver service and maintenance packages for any open protocol system, regardless of manufacturer or installer.


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