Facilities Managers responsible for the maintenance of large commercial buildings have been warned that failure to service and maintain smoke ventilation equipment could have catastrophic consequences.
Alan Macklin, Group Technical Director at Elta Group, fears the ‘out of sight, out of mind’ nature of emergency smoke extract fans – a specialised product designed for both normal ventilation and emergency smoke extraction – means many go years without being serviced.
Alan comments: “Although BS EN 12101-3 ensures emergency smoke extract fans are rigorously tested during manufacture and pre-sales, what needs to happen once these products are installed is much less clear.
“In the case of well-populated commercial buildings such as supermarkets and shopping centres, smoke extract fans are vital in the event of a fire as they help the fire service with access and occupants with evacuation. Ultimately, the fans are there to protect lives.
“Some building owners carry the misplaced assumption that they won’t encounter a fire, which of course is a stance we only see the consequences of once it’s too late.
“After 20,000 hours or five years of service, the fans bearings should be changed, and this is a procedure which has to be done by the approved manufacturer of the equipment. If there is a fire and the fan hasn’t been used regularly, hasn’t been serviced, and has bearings which are in poor condition, there is every chance it will fail just when it is needed most.
“What we really need is a mandatory servicing requirement to ensure that legally, building owners and facilities managers are not allowed to forget to have these critical appliances checked on a regular basis.”
For more information, go to egbuildingservices.co.uk