CFD reinforces refurb designs
Brakel Airvent has long been known as the UK’s leading supplier of service and maintenance to smoke control and related ventilation systems. But that actually downplays a good portion of the work that we do.
For us, it’s not just about extensive testing and planned maintenance of life safety systems and ventilation products – it’s about ensuring that your system is truly up to the job of saving lives when it needs to. That means we review the suitability of not only your equipment, but also how it interacts with controls and other products, how close it is to the end of its serviceable life and if an alternate product or system would be more effective at saving lives or reducing energy use.
It’s a holistic view that has a focus on life safety and best value, with no compromise made in either direction.
To understand all these interactions takes skill, experience and knowledge, and it’s why at Brakel Airvent we’ve invested in internal fire engineering and CFD design talent. We spoke with Giovanni Cosma, Brakel Airvent’s Lead Fire Engineering Design Consultant to find out more.
“CFD modelling can be used to model the likely movement of heat and smoke in complex or simple geometries and, if used appropriately, it can give both designers and regulators confidence that the installed system will achieve its design objectives.
At Brakel Airvent, CFD analysis is carried out every time we propose a design which doesn’t follow (fully or partially) the recommendations outlined in current standards. Most of the time, due to the complexity of CFD models, these analyses are carried out for refurbishment projects.
When designing a new system or an update to an existing system, Brakel Airvent also focuses on energy usage – we aim to select a less energy consuming alternative system or array of products and (if possible) a less complex configuration.”
When do we design?
If a perfectly suitable piece of smoke ventilation equipment reaches the end of its serviceable life and has performed its duties admirably, 9 times out of 10 we’ll replace it with a like-for-like equivalent, with no need for design work as the system’s operation will not change.
However, there are times when the way a system works appears outdated. There are times when it’s apparent the original system was poorly designed or implemented. There are times when a building is undergoing refurbishment, renovation or change of use.
At those times we may – working with our client – take the opportunity to call on our in-house design team and CFD resources to ensure that any proposed alternative or solution will perform as desired.
How do we design?
The process we follow when a new project arrives can be laid out as below:
- Review the fire strategy of the project and checking all drawings
- Check projects’ code compliance
- Create brief summary of requirements concerning smoke extract system(s)
- Sales team prepares quote and an estimate of the project size
- Provide a preliminary design for the smoke ventilation system – with CFD support – and liaising with the design team (which can include architects, mechanical engineers, structural engineers, fire engineers and building control officers)
- Submit design for final approval
Gio adds: “Even when dealing with complex situations/buildings that do comply with current regulation, we usually propose to carry out CFD modelling in order to prove our system efficiency, thus demonstrating to our clients that we are capable of providing good engineering. Last but not least, CFD is also done just for internal development, such as researching better and more appropriate design solutions for different types of buildings.”
Brakel Airvent focuses upon our customers and their clients. We care for the safety, compliance, savings and future of smoke control systems throughout the UK, providing a complete service from survey to planned preventative maintenance (PPM). We partner with all areas within the FM sector looking after many of the biggest brands and most important buildings throughout the UK.
We offer a free, no obligation survey, report and quotation for everything we do.