Forming part of a smoke ventilation system, Automatic Opening Vents (AOVs) are a required safety measure for multi-storey residential buildings. If you’re an installer of Automatic Opening Vents (AOVs), you need to be aware of the AOV system regulations that are in place. Compliance with the following AOV building regulations is essential when using them.
Building regulations for AOV windows:
Approved Document B – Fire Safety
The regulations for what a building must be fitted with to prevent the spread of fire are covered in Approved Document B. Specifically, Volume 2 covers buildings other than dwelling houses, the areas where AOV windows are commonly used. For residential buildings, it’s essential for a fire detection and alarm system to be in place, plus there should be adequate means of escape.
Approved Document F – Smoke Control and Ventilation
This document sets out how ventilation is to be provided for specific buildings. The method for ventilation will vary depending on the type of building, the layout, the number of occupants and how the upper floors are reached (by elevator, stairway or alternative method). Approved Document F also aims to prevent the accumulation of smoke within buildings. This is important for providing a means of escape during the event of a fire. More than one Automatic Opening Vent may be required for smoke control purposes, however, in multi-storey buildings, they’re usually fitted above the staircases.
Approved Document L – Conservation of Fuel and Power
Approved Document L regulates how much thermal insulation should be provided by smoke vents. The document points out that smoke vents should be designed in a way to prevent excessive heat loss. U-Values are the unit for measuring heat loss and the lower the U-Value, the smaller amount of heat transmittance or heat loss. To comply with Approved Document L, any smoke vents must have a U-Value of 3.5 W/m2k or lower. Specifically, the two documents mainly relevant to AOV window regulations are:
Approved Document L2A, which covers new buildings other than dwellings
Approved Document L2B, which covers existing buildings other than dwellings
Standards and certification:
BS EN12101-2 is the harmonised European standard for smoke and heat control. A stringent AOV testing procedure must be performed before an AOV window is certified to this standard. However, this standard applies to every component used as part of a smoke control system. Plus, the whole system has to be tested as a collective unit to comply with Building Regulations.
CE marking certification demonstrates that the AOV has passed all the required tests.
Related to this post: Have you incorporated an AOV into your fire strategy?
Here at Teal Products, the products we supply for use in AOV control systems, which includes actuators, control units & manual call points, are all tested to BS EN12101-2 and CE marked. If you require any for your next project, or for any project advice, get in touch with us today.