Why Airtight Smoke Shafts can Help to Save Lives

There are many reasons why an airtight smoke shaft can help to save lives. Smoke shafts are an essential component of a building’s fire safety system, designed to extract smoke from common areas such as corridors and stairwells in the event of a fire. The effectiveness of smoke shafts can be the difference between life and death in emergency situations, that’s why air testing smoke shafts is incredibly important. Here’s why having an airtight smoke shaft is crucial for safety, and why a leaky shaft poses significant risks.

The Lifesaving Importance of Airtight Smoke Shafts

An airtight smoke shaft ensures that smoke is efficiently extracted from a building, maintaining clear evacuation routes and visibility for occupants and emergency responders. This is vital for several reasons:

  1. Effective Smoke Extraction from buildings: Airtight shafts create a negative pressure environment that draws smoke out of the building, preventing it from spreading to other areas. This helps to contain the fire and facilitates a safer evacuation.
  2. Compliance with Building Regulations and standards: Buildings must adhere to strict fire safety standards, which include the integrity of smoke shafts. Airtight shafts ensure compliance, avoiding legal repercussions and potential fines.
  3. Building Insurance Validation: Many insurance policies require buildings to meet safety standards. Airtight smoke shafts are often a prerequisite for coverage in the event of fire damage.
  4. Health Protection of Occupants: By removing smoke quickly, airtight shafts reduce the risk of smoke inhalation, which can cause serious respiratory issues and fatalities.
  5. Aid to Firefighters during operations: During firefighting operations, clear shafts allow for better management of smoke and heat, aiding in the firefighting efforts and protecting both the occupants and the firefighters.


The Dangers of Leaky Smoke Shafts

Conversely, a leaky smoke shaft can have dire consequences to the building and its occupants due to the following reasons:

  1. Poor Smoke Control within the Building: Leaks in the shaft can lead to inadequate smoke extraction, allowing smoke to enter escape routes and occupied areas, which can be disorienting and toxic.
  2. Non-Compliance with Standards: Failing to meet the required standards for smoke shafts can result in delated handover to the building, the building being deemed unsafe, leading to closures or legal action.
  3. Negated Building Insurance: If the smoke shaft has not been constructed, or tested to the relevant standards it may negate the Building Insurance.
  4. Increased Fire Spread throughout the building: If smoke is not contained, it can spread rapidly throughout the building, compromising the structural integrity and safety of the entire structure.
  5. Health Hazards due to Increased Smoke Exposure: Exposure to smoke due to ineffective extraction can result in long-term health issues for the building’s occupants.
  6. Delayed Emergency Response: Leaky shafts can hinder firefighting efforts, making it more challenging to control the fire and rescue occupants.

Conclusion – We Need Airtight Smoke Shafts 

The integrity of smoke shafts is not just a regulatory requirement; it’s a critical feature that can save lives. By carrying out an initial air tightness test, and regular testing, maintenance, and prompt repair of any air leakage paths leaks are essential to ensure that these systems function correctly when they are needed the most. By prioritising the design and airtightness of smoke shafts, building owners and managers can provide a safer environment for occupants and a more manageable situation for emergency services in the event of a fire.

For detailed guidelines and regulations on smoke shaft air testing, it’s recommended to consult the official documents provided by the UK government and relevant authorities.


APT Sound Testing can help you PASS your Smoke Shaft Air Test

Our experienced engineers have over 10 years in the field of smoke shaft testing, so we know how to help clients to pass their testing to achieve smoke shaft signoff.

Our premium smoke shaft testing service includes:

  • Smoke shaft survey visits by experienced consultants.
  • We are a UKAS and ATTMA Level 2 air testing company.
  • Smoke shaft air test certification.
  • The latest high-powered fan equipment
  • UKAS calibrated equipment.
  • Diagnostic leakage surveys testing using smoke & thermal imaging.
  • Rapid testing service

We offer leading design, consultancy, and compliance for every part of your project. It’s APT’s aim to provide a friendly and professional stress-free experience for all your smoke shaft air testing requirements.

For more information on our air testing services for smoke shafts, please contact Darren direct on 07775623464, or email us at info@airpressuretesting.net