The main purpose of an Automatic Opening Vent system is to support the evacuation by clearing smoke from lobbies, stairwells and corridors in the event of a fire through smoke control systems, allowing a safe passage to the nearest means of escape for occupants.
Maximizing visibility and reducing the presence of smoke and harmful gases
Enables the emergency services to find and tackle the fire as early as possible
Reduces smoke inhalation and gives occupants the clearest possible evacuation routes
How do smoke ventilation systems work?
There are two main types of smoke ventilation which are natural and mechanical systems.
Natural smoke ventilation systems - smoke shafts, window vents and skylights. They are designed to automatically open when heat and smoke sensors are activated. You’ll often see smoke ventilation systems referred to as AOV which stands for Automatic Opening Vents. This system can be used for emergencies and air flow for hot days.
Mechanical ventilation systems are more advanced. Smoke is extracted via a mechanical ventilation system which can serve lobbies, stairwells & corridors which will be used for escape routes. Fans inside the shaft extracts smoke and protects other parts of the building from smoke.
Once the residential building property is over 11m, then a smoke control system is mandatory, the exact requirements of which will depend upon various factors such as the furthest distance of an apartment to the staircase. This should not be more than 4.5m, however this distance can be extended to 7.5m if the corridor is naturally ventilated with an area of at least 1.5m².
Once a building is deemed as being a high-rise residential property, then as well as natural ventilation there may well be a requirement for a mechanical ventilation system as well.