Choosing the right company for your smoke ventilation system
Paul Bennett, Director at PLP Fire Protection, explains how to ensure you are working with a suitable company.
Smoke ventilation systems are commonly installed in residential apartment blocks to ensure stairways and communal corridors remain relatively free from smoke and heat in the event of a fire to enable occupants of the building to escape and the fire service to enter the building safely. As a life safety system it is important that your smoke ventilation system is designed, installed and maintained by a suitably qualified and accredited company.
But when choosing a company how do you know who is suitably qualified and accredited?
The IFC, in partnership with the Smoke Control Association (SCA), have developed a third-party accreditation scheme called ‘IFC Certification SDI 19’. The scheme was developed to ensure a suitable level of competency in relation to fire strategy verification, system design and the installation of smoke ventilation systems. It also covers a company’s ability to offer and provide an appropriate level of service and maintenance.
Since the introduction of this new scheme, the Smoke Control Association (SCA) have made an important statement:
“Maintenance of smoke ventilation systems (including AOVs) should only be undertaken by competent organisations that are both members of the Smoke Control Association and accredited to IFC Certification SDI 19 third party competence scheme.”
PLP Fire Protection are members of the Smoke Control Association and have undergone stringent site and office audits by the IFC, we are proud to have been awarded UKAS, IFC Certification SDI 19 Third Party Accreditation in Smoke Ventilation Systems.
David Mowatt, Chairman of the SCA, comments:
“The independent review of building regulations and fire safety supports clear cultural changes in the procurement, design, construction and maintenance of buildings and building systems in order to deliver safer buildings. Contractors should be responsible for the systems they install and end users should always look to use a capable, experienced contractor. This certification scheme will ensure quality and competency, affording the end user confidence that their safety critical system is fit for purpose. Certified contractors will have clearly demonstrated that their trained staff consistently adhere to industry best practice and fully appreciate the importance of correct installation, inspection and maintenance.”
How can I be sure that the company I’ve chosen is qualified?
IFC Certification is an internationally recognised provider of independent third-party certification, this certification is designed to raise standards across the industry, it is mandatory for any SCA member involved in the installation of smoke control systems to achieve the accreditation as a condition of membership.
Often companies can display multiple logos on their website and literature showing affiliations and memberships with trade associations and manufacturers, it is important not to confuse these with third party certification.
It is also important that when appointing a contractor to carry out any work on your smoke ventilation system that you ask for their IFC SDI 19 Certificate. By specifying this certification as a requirement you’re demonstrating that you have taken constructive action to find a competent provider.
To check if the company you are appointing is accredited simply look on the IFC Certification website in the certified installers section ‘Smoke Control’.
As both members of the Smoke Control Association and as an IFC SDI 19 Third Party Accredited company you can be safe in the knowledge that you are choosing a competent third party accredited company.
For further information and advice on your smoke ventilation system please do not hesitate to contact PLP Fire Protection.