MAINTENANCE OF SMOKE VENTILATION EQUIPMENT

I cannot recall the amount of times I have been asked the question “How often must my Smoke Ventilation equipment be serviced?”

 

The following is an extract from SANS 10400 Part T Annex A

 

Regulations

T1  General Requirement

 

 

(1)      Any building shall be so designed, constructed and equipped that in case of fire –

 

(a)      the protection of occupants or users, including persons with disabilities, therein is   ensured and that provision is made for the safe evacuation of such occupants or users;

          

(b)      the spread and intensity of such fire within such building and the spread of fire to any other building will be minimized;

 

(c)       sufficient stability will be retained to ensure that such building will not endanger any other building: Provided that in the case of any multi-story building no major failure of the structural system shall occur;

 

(d)      the generation and spread of smoke will be minimized or controlled to the greatest extent reasonably practicable; and

 

(e)      adequate means of access, and equipment for detecting, fighting, controlling and extinguishing such fire, is provided.

 

(2)    The requirements of sub regulation (1) shall be deemed to be satisfied where the design, construction and equipment of any building complies with SANS 10400-T: Provided that where any local authority is of the opinion that such compliance would not comply with all the requirements of sub regulation (1), such local authority shall, in writing, notify the owner of the building of its reasons for its opinion and may require the owner to submit for approval a rational design prepared by an approved competent person.

 

T2  Offences

 

(1)      Any owner of any building who fails to –

 

(a)  provide sufficient fire extinguishers to satisfy the requirements of sub regulation T1(1)(e), or who installs fire extinguishers that do not comply with the relevant South African national standard, or who fails to ensure that such fire extinguishers are installed, maintained and serviced in accordance with SANS 10105; or

 

(b)  maintain any other provision made to satisfy the requirements of sub regulation T1(1)(e), shall be guilty of an offence.

 

(2)    Any person who causes or permits any escape route to be rendered less effective or to be   obstructed in  any way which may hinder or prevent the escape of any person from a building in the case of fire or any other emergency shall be guilty of an offence.

 

So the short and sweet of it can be taken from T2 b any person that fails to maintain equipment for detecting, fighting, controlling and extinguishing such fire will be guilty of an offence.

 

But this does not answer the question on how often it must be maintained, to get the best answer for that we have to look further to International standards and good practices

 

Some of the best references can be found in BS 9999

 

Extracts from BS 9999 Annex V

 

Weekly

 

V.3.5 Smoke control systems for means of escape Actuation of the system should be simulated once a week. It should be ensured that any fans and powered exhaust ventilators operate correctly, smoke dampers close (or open in some systems), natural exhaust ventilators open, automatic smoke curtains move into position, etc.

 

3 Monthly

 

V.5 Three-monthly

In addition to the checks recommended in V.2, V.3 and V.4, the actuation of all smoke control systems should be simulated once every three months. All zones should be separately tested and it should be ensured that any fans and powered exhaust ventilators operate correctly, smoke dampers close (or open in some systems), etc.

 

V.6 Six-monthly

 

V.6.1 General

In addition to the checks recommended in V.2, V.3, V.4 and V.5, the checks described in V.6.2 and V.6.3 should be undertaken once every six months.

 

Arrangements should be made for six-monthly inspections and tests to be carried out by competent persons on the fire detection and alarm systems, the sprinkler systems, any extinguishing systems, the emergency and escape lighting systems and the fire-fighting lift, for any defects found to be logged and the necessary action taken, and for certificates of testing to be obtained.

 

V.7 Yearly

NOTE Attention is drawn to the testing and inspection requirements of BS 7671.

 

In addition to the checks recommended in V.2, V.3, V.4, V.5 and V.6, arrangements should be made for annual inspections and tests of the following to be carried out by competent persons, for any defects to be logged and the necessary action taken, and for certificates of testing to be obtained:

 

a) fire detection and alarm systems;

b) self-contained luminaires with sealed batteries, if more than 3 years old;

c) sprinkler and drencher systems;

d) smoke ventilators and smoke control systems;

e) evacuation lifts;

f) fire-fighting lift installations;

g) fire hydrants;

h) fire mains;

i) portable fire extinguishers;

j) hose reels.

 

Stocks of foam concentrate or solution should be checked annually and replenished as necessary.

 

So the answer after all of the information above is, routine checks by the facility manager as prescribed above and service the Smoke Ventilation equipment at least once a year by a competent person

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