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Designing A Smoke Control System For A High-Rise Building

The construction of a high-rise building takes careful planning. All potential events must be accounted for during the planning process to ensure that the building is safe and secure. Designing a smoke control system that will service the needs of a tall building can be a challenge.

There are a few considerations that must be made during the initial design phase to ensure that the high-rise's smoke control system is capable of performing adequately during a fire.

1. Consider the architectural design of the building.

Unique architectural features must be taken into consideration when designing a smoke control system for a high-rise. A lot of taller buildings include an atrium that extends the entire vertical height of the building.

These atria make attractive additions to high-end office buildings, but they can make smoke management a challenge. Specialized fans will be required to help control the elevation of any smoke that might find its way into the atrium. These fans will help reduce smoke damage and contain smoke to the area where a fire originated.

2. Factor in pressurized areas.

A high-rise building will have many areas that are pressurized differently from one another. These areas can include multiple stairwells and elevator shafts. In the event of a fire, smoke suppression can become a challenge in these pressurized areas.

A quality smoke control system will feature a zoned suppression system. This type of system allows for varying levels of protection that account for the airflow between complementary pressurized areas within a high-rise.

3. Ensure that exits remain clear.

One of the most essential components in any smoke control system design is making sure that exit pathways remain clear. In a high-rise, these exit pathways will likely be the stairwells that service the building.

Since stairwells are pressurized areas, your smoke control system needs to account for the exchange of air as people enter and exit the stairwells, changes in temperature between the stairwell and the main body of the building, and the presence of HVAC vents within the stairwell. Factoring these features into your design will help you create a smoke control system that keeps stairwells tenable during a fire.

Smoke control systems play a critical role in the function and safety of all buildings. Planning for smoke control in a high-rise can pose a unique challenge, but accounting for atria, considering varying pressurized areas, and focusing on clear exits can help you design a smoke control system capable of protecting buildings of all heights.