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Be Safe Direct has impeccable customer service, are always helpful and their systems are very competitively priced and reliable.

Graeme Cook

Estimating Manager
Landhurst Electrical Services LTD

Be Safe Direct has impeccable customer service, are always helpful and their systems are very competitively priced and reliable.

Graeme Cook

Estimating Manager
Landhurst Electrical Services LTD


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Published: 23/03/2016

Fire safety is a key concern for any project, and a factor which must be considered during the building’s design stage. While fire itself is a very real threat to the wellbeing of occupants and the property’s structure, you may be surprised to hear that most deaths during a fire are caused by smoke inhalation.

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Published: 08/03/2016

View our latest infographic explaining the principle of smoke ventilation in residential buildings. Take a look at what happens if you do not have any smoke ventilation and the importance of it in residential buildings.

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Mechanical Smoke Ventilation

Mechanical Smoke Ventilation

What is Mechanical Smoke Ventilation?

At Be Safe Direct, Mechanical Smoke Ventilation Systems are amongst our most popular offerings, and for good reason.

Providing an alternative to natural smoke ventilation systems, mechanical systems use powered fans to remove smoke from a building  to provide a means of escape for occupants and access for fire-fighting services if a fire should occur.

A typical Be Safe Direct mechanical system consists of a vertical mechanical extract shaft that serves a building’s common corridor and/or lobby. If smoke is detected within one of these areas, the fire damper to the smoke shaft on the affected floor(s) will open, and the fan at the top of the shaft will activate to extract the smoke.

The Benefits

Mechanical Smoke Ventilation Systems offer a number of unique advantages compared to their natural counterparts. As these systems utilise powered fans they can offer greater efficiency and controllability than natural systems, which rely on natural airflow to remove smoke from a corridor or lobby.

The improved efficiency offered by smoke ventilation systems of this type also allows the use of far smaller smoke shafts compared to natural systems, providing substantial space saving benefits to a project. In addition, this also allows greater design flexibility, as travel distances in common corridors can be extended beyond British Standard recommendations.

Why Choose a Mechanical System?

These qualities make Mechanical Smoke Ventilation Systems ideal for use in buildings that are more than four storeys in height (or which include a floor over 11m from the access level), where travel distances would usually be restricted to 7.5m under BS9991: 2011.

These smoke ventilation systems also allow the inclusion of larger open spaces, and the smaller smoke shaft sizes (as small as 0.5-0.6m2 compared to natural systems’ 1.5m2) also mean that mechanical systems are ideally suited where saleable space is at a premium.

Mechanical Smoke Ventilation

The Legislation

While Natural Smoke Ventilation Systems are the primary focus of BS9991:2011 and the Approved Document B, the Standards also recognise the use of mechanical systems, provided they offer the same performance as a 1.5m2 natural system.

This must be proved on a case-by-case basis, with the use of mechanical systems being referred to as an ‘engineered’ rather than ‘code-compliant’ solution. This is usually achieved through the use of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) Modelling, which involves the creation of a digital model of the building in question and visualises the movement of smoke and heat through the property in the event of a fire, as well as modelling the effectiveness of the proposed smoke ventilation system.

The data provided by this simulation can then be submitted to Building Control to justify the use of the Mechanical Smoke Ventilation Systems.

Supply and Beyond

As your system requirements will vary depending on the design of your property, Be Safe Direct can work with you to design a system that suits your needs, and provide a competitive quote including all relevant products and services.

As well as supplying Mechanical Smoke Ventilation Systems, allowing you to install the units yourself – or have a chosen contractor carry out the work for you – we can also provide installation, commissioning and maintenance services through our highly experienced partners.

For more information on our range of Mechanical Smoke Ventilation Systems just fill in the ‘Request a call back’ form at the top of this page, and one of Be Safe Direct’s experts will be in touch.

Need more information?

For technical advice or a free quote call our expert team on 0845 604 5653 or email

Smoke Ventilation Systems

Smoke Ventilation Solutions