Who's responsible for a smoke ventilation system?

By Jeremy Blake
Monday 13th July, 20201 minute to read

Who’s responsible for a smoke control system? Well, statutory responsibility for a smoke control system goes as follows:

When the site is still in the construction phase, whilst the RRO still applies to construction sites, the applicable legislation is the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 [8]. Once the smoke control system has been handed over, responsibility for the maintenance of the initial performance of the smoke control system rests with the “duty holder” as defined within the Regulations.

The ‘Duty Holder’ in buildings and facilities is tasked with ensuring that everything onsite is as it should be and that everyone onsite knows exactly what they are doing. This is a huge responsibility that should never be taken lightly, which is why the appointed duty holder of a building is often a senior building manager or supervisor, or indeed a group of qualified individuals, who should all have up-to-date knowledge of the relevant guidance and Codes of Practice. This is for their benefit; to keep the facility in question open and operating within compliance, but is also necessary to keep members of the public, building staff and building residents safe and well at all times when they are on the premises.

It’s important to note though, where phased handover is planned, the duty holder is required to ensure that, at partial occupation, the same level of protection is provided to the occupied areas as will eventually be provided to the complete building at final handover.

After handover of the system, responsibility for the maintenance of the initial performance passes to the person responsible for the building.

When the project reaches occupation stage, the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 [7] requires the responsible person to ensure that all fire safety systems (including the smoke control system) have a suitable system of maintenance and are maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair. The Order also requires that where there are two or more responsible persons (whether temporary or permanent) each person has to coordinate and cooperate with the other, to make sure the system is properly maintained.

In most circumstances the owner, employer or occupier of the premises is responsible for ensuring and maintaining correct fire safety and procedures – known as the “responsible person”.

If you’re unsure who the “responsible person” of your residence or workplace is, you should contact the person in charge of the accommodation or workplace and ensure that adequate and correct fire safety measures are in place.

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Carlsson outlines responsibility for smoke control systems.
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