Supersafe AOV System

Why Choose Supersafe? We specialise in the full design, install and commissioning of Automatic Opening Vent (AOV) Systems and have installed many up and down the United Kingdom. We understand how complicated these systems are and support you every step of the way from the beginning to the end of the project, we dedicate one of our specialist consultants to each customer who take full ownership of your project, be rest assured that you are safe hands for any type of AOV system installation.

What is an AOV system?

Commercial and large residential buildings are required by law under AOV standard BS7306 to provide clear escape routes, free from smoke to allow any occupant in the building escape, as well as to provide any first responders and fire crews access during an emergency situation.

Automatic Opening Vents (AOVs) are designed to extract any smoke that is in the communal escape route areas to assist any occupants needing to evacuate under an emergency situation.

Why do I need an AOV system?

Fire Safety – Approved Document B (ADB) covers the building regulations in England covering all fire safety matters within and around buildings. Please follow the link for more information paying particular attention to the B1 requirement.

B1: Means of warning and escape

The building shall be designed and constructed so that there are appropriate provisions for the early warning of fire, and appropriate means of escape in case of fire from the building to a place of safety outside the building capable of being safely and effectively used at all material times.

In the Secretary of State’s view, requirement B1 is met by achieving all of the following.

a. There are sufficient means for giving early warning of fire to people in the building.
b. All people can escape to a place of safety without external assistance.
c. Escape routes are suitably located, sufficient in number and of adequate capacity.
d. Where necessary, escape routes are sufficiently protected from the effects of fire and smoke.
e. Escape routes are adequately lit and exits are suitably signed.
f. There are appropriate provisions to limit the ingress of smoke to the escape routes, or to restrict the spread of fire and remove smoke.
g. For buildings containing flats, there are appropriate provisions to support a stay put evacuation strategy.

The extent to which any of these measures are necessary is dependent on the use of the building, its size and its height.

Building work and material changes of use subject to requirement B1 include both new and existing buildings.

How does an AOV system work?

AOV systems work by using smoke detectors, either standalone within the AOV system or by interfacing onto a fire detection system, upon smoke activating the smoke detectors this will then activate any vent that is in that particular area based on the system design and extract the smoke.

What are the different types of AOV system?

Natural Smoke Ventilation

In the event of a fire, any vents of the natural venting systems open , these systems are designed and calculated by using natural airflow dynamics to remove smoke. This can be attained by opening windows or vents. The sizes of these vents depend on the location of them but typically range from 1m2 to 1.5m2 of free air needed.

Natural Smoke Ventilation is the cheapest method of meeting the requirements of Approved Document B, and most common based on new building design as architects generally try to design the less complex buildings within these parameters. In the event of a fire, smoke detectors will activate the natural smoke venting system within that particular zone, usually per floor. This creates a natural airflow to allow the hot smoke from the building and expel it into the atmosphere, offering a safe means of escape for occupants, with greater visibility and access for firefighters.

Smoke & Heat Exhaust Ventilation Systems (SHEVS)

Smoke and Heat Ventilation Systems (SHEVS) are designed primarily to remove smoke and heat from a burning building, maintaining escape routes and allowing clear fire fighting access. A SHEV system increases the escape time for buildings occupants.

On detection of smoke the AOV’s, louvres on smoke shafts, Automatic Opening Windows (AOW) or doors via actuators will automatically open. With manual call points or Fire fighters override switches generally located close to the zone activating. System design for control panels differ dependant on building design etc… They can have either local slave panels linked to a master panel or have one central control panel, all panels have battery back in the event of power failure. The timing for opening all the vents is of great importance in order to enable people to escape quickly. Therefore, the use of an automated SHEV system is to be highly recommended.

Mechanical Smoke Ventilation Systems

Mechanical Smoke Ventilation systems are designed to keep escape and access routes free from smoke and to facilitate fire-fighting operations. The systems use powered elements such as fans to force the movement of smoke to allow it to escape through dampers, grills and vents. Mechanical systems are useful where natural airflow is insufficient or impracticable, usually for carparks or within a pre existing building where a natural design will not work.

Car Park Ventilation Systems

Induction/Impulse (or jet) fans clear smoke from enclosed or underground car parks. These are often combined with fume ventilation to prevent the build-up of vehicle exhaust gases in normal day to day use of the car park. Louvres, dampers, and powered smoke extraction fans are also often integrated into the scheme.

What are the benefits of an AOV system?

Using AOVs reduces the amount of smoke and heat contained in a building during a fire. This benefits residents or workers inside, as they are likely to inhale less harmful smoke during evacuation.

Enhanced visibility is created when an AOV is present in a smoke situation, as the smoke and heat is allowed to rise, leaving lower levels more clear than they would be without ventilation.

‘Flashover’ is also reduced; the situation in which heat is drawn back down into a building as natural air flow encourages regulation of heat throughout the building.

Aside from increasing life protection, AOV’s also reduce the financial impact of a fire, simply by allowing smoke to exhaust, resulting in lower overall building damage.

How often does an AOV system need to be maintained?

In UK law smoke ventilation systems must be regularly inspected and be operational. The owner or the management company of all premises are responsible for the statutory inspection & maintenance of smoke ventilation systems, this can generally range from 1 visit per year to 4 visits per year.

We recommend and advise bi-annual inspection and maintenance to ensure your system is in a working operational condition as the majority of AOV systems are linked to fire detection systems which need a minimum of 2 visits per annum.

If you are unsure when your system was last inspected please contact us now and we can send our AOV specialist consultant to advise you.

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