Smoke VentilationAre you an electrical contractor responsible for installing fire alarm/detection systems in new university residences, housing developments or schools? If so, you might have experience installing automatic opening vents (AOV), which form part of their fire strategy. These are a fantastic way of ensuring new buildings are compliant with current building regulations.

What is an AOV?

An AOV is a control system designed to vent air or smoke, however they’re mainly used to control the ventilation of smoke during a fire. When a smoke sensor or manual call point is triggered, the AOV system will trigger an actuator which opens windows or smoke vents to create smoke ventilation. This clears smoke from the building in areas it’s been detected, ensuring the means of escape are less inhibited.

Multi-storey residential buildings

All multi-storey residential buildings require a smoke control system in accordance with Approved Document B. This includes university residences, blocks of flats and other similar buildings. During a fire, a smoke control system helps keep the stairs free of smoke, so escape is easier. Generally, a 1m² automatic opening vent (AOV) is fitted at the head of the stairs, however additional smoke vents may be fitted, depending on the size and layout of the building. Each vent will require operation via an actuator, which is connected to the smoke control system.


For currently existing schools which are one storey and have 160 pupils or less, the method for raising a fire alarm can be quite simple. In such cases, the use of rotary gongs or bells can be used, provided they’re audible and understood in every area of the school. For any other school, an electrically operated fire warning system is required. However, according to Building Bulletin 101: ventilation for school buildings, adequate means of ventilation must also be provided for the people in the building. Therefore, the use of automatic opening vents (AOV) is appropriate for ensuring compliance with current legislation. Smoke vents can also be retrofitted in older schools, to improve fire strategy.

Commercial Applications

Approved Document F covers smoke ventilation for new buildings. However, for commercial buildings, how ventilation is provided will vary, depending on the building’s size and layout. For stairwells in commercial buildings, automatic opening vents can be used as part of a fire strategy.

AOV systems that meet all current UK standards

Teal product supplies all automatic opening vent equipment, including smoke sensors, manual call points, actuators and control units. All controls have been tested to European EN standards and can be integrated into existing systems or we can supply them as a whole. For more information call 01242 620318 or send us an online message.


Information and third party regulation correct as of 21/07/2018. Please contact us for more information.

Post published: 23/08/2018