Colt International has successfully supplied and tested the first ever UK smoke control system for a car park, at Liverpool One, the UK’s largest retail development. With more than 2,000 spaces, split over four levels, this massive area required a specially designed smoke control system, rather than the standard smoke clearance system, which is more commonly applied to car parks.

The scheme consists of 80 Colt Cyclone induction and 22 Colt Jetstream impulse fans, with associated grilles, dampers and extract systems and is controlled by a detection system, which pinpoints the location of the smoke and operates fans and dampers according to a set logic. Smoke is driven along a zoned route by a series of aerodynamic dampers, open or closed accordingly to increase smoke extraction.

All systems were tested last month to ensure their capability to restrict smoke spread and thereby helping to keep escape routes clear of smoke, without the need for physical barriers.

During the course of the test, Laing O’Rourke, Colt’s customer and the main contractor, carried out cold smoke tests to ensure that the rate of clearance of smoke was adequate; that the smoke did not spread into adjoining areas; and that the smoke was funnelled toward the requisite extract points, as selected by the detection system.

Peter Ryan, Project Director, for Laing O’Rourke said: “Colt was involved in the project from the start and throughout the last five years has displayed consummate professionalism and consistent high standards, assisting Laing O’Rourke in the successful completion of Liverpool One.”

All tests were successful, with Colt’s scheme fully meeting the client’s expectations. The design air volume, over 100 m³/second in some places, was achieved at the extract points when the Colt dampers were open, and there was minimal air leakage when they were closed, allowing smoke to move in accordance with the design brief.

Colt International is committed to ensuring the safety and efficiency of its products by performing these rigorous tests, prior to their installation, as well as after. Before the contract was awarded, Colt created a Computational Flow Dynamic (CFD) model which predicted that a scheme of impulse fans would be capable of controlling the spread of smoke from a car fire while keeping significant areas of the car park smoke free. The CFD model was then validated by engineers from Colt and the Building Research Establishment (BRE), who conducted a series of hot smoke tests in a simulated car park in Middlesbrough.

Now installed, the final tests have proved these initial predictions, ensuring the safety of end-user occupants and fire fighting crews.

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