SE Controls takes the heat out of new London apartment development

Safety and comfort are at the heart of a major new residential development by Linden Homes in Hammersmith, London, which is using a combined smoke and natural ventilation solution from SE Controls to protect residents in the multi-storey apartment building.

Designed by HAP Architects, the new development is located on Hammersmith’s Glenthorne Road and provides 81 apartments from ground to sixth floor penthouse level, together with a communal roof top terrace, private gardens and secure parking.

To provide a safe means of escape for residents in the event of a fire as well as enabling fire fighters to enter the building, SE Controls developed the smoke ventilation system to remove smoke from corridors and stairwells by using a mix of natural air buoyancy venting and fan extraction through smoke shafts.

On floor one to five, smoke ventilation is provided by extract fans located in the building’s cycle store, with replacement air being supplied through ground floor and air inlet shaft, while the sixth floor is vented by a 1.5m2 vent in the top floor corridor and stairs by a similar arrangement at the head of the stair.

In addition to smoke ventilation, the SE Controls’ solution is also designed to provide mechanically assisted natural ventilation to help maintain a comfortable temperature within the building’s corridors. As central heating and hot water distribution pipe work feeds each apartment via the corridors, the potential for the corridors to become overheated in some situations has also been addressed by the system.

On the first five floors, extract fans, which run at half speed, remove warm air from the corridors and the system’s smoke dampers are opened as required by the building’s natural ventilation control panel. On the sixth floor, a dedicated tamper proof thermostat controls the lobby vent while hooded vents allow ventilation during inclement weather conditions.

The integrated smoke and natural ventilation control strategy was developed by SE Controls to meet the specific needs of the apartment building and involved the use of nine OS2 controllers and tamper proof manual control points, as well as a range of temperature sensors and smoke sensors, all of which are linked to the main system control panel with a failsafe battery back up.

Under normal operation, the natural ventilation (NV) system is active between 08:00 and 20:00, which provides ventilation and corridor cooling to the building. The NV controller scans the temperature sensors and allows the end of corridor Automatic Opening Vents (AOVs) to open when required. However, in the event of a fire, where the system is triggered either by a smoke sensor or manually activated, all NV functions are stopped and the OS2 controller for the affected zone signals the fans to run at full speed.

SE Controls’ Project Leader, Brett Cave, explained: “Smoke ventilation is a safety critical factor in residential building design as it not only aids escape and enhances safety, but also assists the fire service by improving access to the building.  This project is one of an increasingly large number where we have developed a combined smoke and natural ventilation solution control strategy that not only enables high safety levels to be maintained, but also improves the environment of the building’s occupants.”

Smoke ventilation and control in apartment buildings is a key issue and is the subject of a seminar organised by the Smoke Control Association (SCA), where SE Controls’ Managing Director, Will Perkins, will be presenting on natural smoke ventilation technologies as one of the event’s main speakers. The event is being held on 10th April 2012 at FETA’s headquarters in Hare Hatch, Reading and is aimed at Building Control Officers, the Fire Service and other stakeholders. Details and booking instructions are available from FETA’s website

SE Controls specialises in the design, project management and installation of advanced smoke ventilation and natural ventilation solutions to meet the needs of architects, contractors, building services engineers and facilities managers worldwide. Further information on SE Controls’ products, solutions and projects can be obtained by visiting or by calling +44 (0) 1543 443060.

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