What is natural smoke ventilation?

By Sam Gocher
Tuesday 23rd May, 20232 minute to read

In this blog, Sertus are going to tell you what natural smoke ventilation is!

Let’s start off with some history… After research undertaken in 1971 by the National Research Centre of Canada, they had an experimental 10 storey tower block with corridors, stair cores and lift shafts in order to simulate fires inside a building. Jumping to the 1980s, further research was carried out by the BRE, which consolidated all our learning on natural smoke ventilation systems. Plenty of what they discovered still applies in today’s legislation.

In terms of products which fit into natural smoke ventilation systems, Sertus manufactures a wide range of fully compliant smoke vents for multiple areas in a building. These products are head of shaft vents, head of stair vents, shaft vents, facade windows and facade louvre blades. Click here to see Sertus’ versions of those products! We also have our new Shaft Natural Damper, which has gained a lot of interest from contractors since being launched in March 2023.

Speaking generally, typical natural systems have a one and a half square metre shaft running up through the building. At least one of its dimensions must be at least 850 millimetres. At each level there will be a 1 square metre vent going into the shaft, a one square metre vent at the head of the shaft, along with a 1 square metre vent at the head of the stair to allow for air inlet.

The system is generally triggered by a fire alarm activation. This will open the head of stair vent and the head of shaft vent. The vent on the floor of fire origin will then open too. Every other vent into the shaft will be locked out. The other vents are locked out so there’s no smoke contamination between floors. The shaft basically acts as a giant chimney.

As mentioned, Sertus have a wide range of smoke ventilation products which work wonders in natural smoke ventilation systems. Feel free to take a look at those, right here.

What is natural smoke ventilation?

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