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Smoke control made beautiful: exploring the benefits of Smokeguard

Since its launch, Smokeguard has continued to offer architects and specifiers a smoke control solution that combines performance with aesthetics.

Read on, as we talk to Simon Ellison, our Technical Support Manager, about what Smokeguard has to offer…

smoke control glass

Q) Why is it important to also consider the smoke generated by a fire, as well as the physical flame and heat?

While the fire itself is the obvious main threat, as well as the immense heat that it generates, the smoke can be just as deadly. In fact, the majority of fire-related deaths and non-fatal injuries are caused by smoke inhalation and the toxic gases produced by fires, rather than fire itself.[1] As well as making it difficult to breathe, thick smoke can also significantly impact visibility, affecting people’s ability to safely evacuate the building.

[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/fire-statistics-data-tables#fatalities-and-casualties

Q) What role does a smoke control solution play in a building’s passive fire protection strategy?

Given the above, it’s clear that smoke control needs to be considered as part of a building’s passive fire protection strategy and has just an important role to play in enabling the safe excavation of people as the process of compartmentation (for example) does.

Installed on ceilings and at high levels, smoke control solutions are used to help contain and passively direct the hot smoke produced by the fire around a building. They essentially work to form a reservoir or channel, within which the smoke can be contained or even extracted, when used in conjunction with a building’s smoke extraction strategy.

Smoke control solutions are commonly specified within buildings that feature long avenues or corridors and have a heavy footfall, such as shopping centres, airports and train stations.

Atriums can also be a common application, including those within our modern education buildings, with the smoke control system helping to contain and prevent the smoke from spreading further through the building.

Q) How can Smokeguard help to balance smoke control AND aesthetics?

Smokeguard is our smoke control solution, manufactured from a sheet of toughened glass and designed to be suspended from the ceiling. Offering 30 and 60-minute smoke protection, Smokeguard is tested in much the same way that our range of fire safety glass solutions are, exposed to fire, heat and smoke and tested to hot temperatures in accordance with test standard BS EN 12101-1.

Available in 8mm thicknesses and with glass pane sizes up to 2500 x 1200mm, Smokeguard is available as a complete system, supplied with the glass, slimline steel brackets and fixings. Once installed it can form a channel that stretches the length of a corridor or building.

From an aesthetics point of view, Smokeguard also ticks all the boxes. Being manufactured from glass, it offers a contemporary and visually appealing solution, one that seamlessly blends into the background and is largely unobtrusive. Given the emphasis on creating safe and beautiful interior spaces, Smokeguard is the ideal solution for helping architects meet the required safety regulations without compromising on design.

Q) What are the alternatives to Smokeguard?

There are of course alternatives to glass smoke control solutions, such as Smokeguard, available on the market. These often take the form of a heavy sheet of material that either permanently hangs from the ceiling or, in the case of a mechanical smoke curtain, automatically drops down from the ceiling once smoke is detected.

Perhaps the obvious disadvantage to these alternatives is that they are less visually appealing and more likely to detract from the overall architectural look. Mechanical smoke curtains can also require regular maintenance and inspections to ensure it remains operational, all of which needs time, money and access.

Q) Can I decorate Smokeguard or shape it around bulkheads?

Smokeguard can be specified as an entirely bespoke system, with the ability to model and shape it around bulkheads, corners or escalators. With the right technical expertise, we’re also able to manufacture Smokeguard as a decorative glass solution, with options for screen printing, acid etching and manifestations. This is a visual feature that works especially well in shopping centres, with the glass often used to display directions or shop and brand names.

For more information about Smokeguard, please contact us.

Further reading

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