The EN code is the European Standard, given the status of a national standard under a mandate given by the European Commission and the European Free Trade Association.

In March 2011, the new and revised South African National Building Regulations: SANS 10400:2011 were promulgated. The portion dealing with smoke control was tightened and South Africa sped from a twenty one-year silence on smoke control into the 21st Century.

Effects of the 2011 revision
Although the 3% smoke control and ventilation rule has become redundant, many struggle to accept this and keep this rule on life support. One must always keep in mind that plan approval does not relieve one of the responsibilities for the performance of the smoke control system, should a fatality occur.

The changes that are creating the high level of excitement and trepidation in the Smoke and Heat Exhaust community need to be discussed.

SANS 10400:2011 aligns itself with the EN 12101 code and Part T 4.42.1 a states: “a system of mechanical or natural ventilation designed in accordance with the relevant part of EN 12101; or…”

Smoke control is no longer defined as the ability to determine the percentage of floor area required, randomly placing openings in the top third of the building. Few embrace the EN 12101 Code. Frantically the “or” in the above quotation is stringently adhered to.

Part T 4.42.1 b also states: “in the case of a single-storey building or room that has a floor area of up to 2500m² and that is not fitted with a sprinkler protection system, roof ventilators or windows … shall”, and Part T 4.42.1 b 1 states: “have an aggregate area of not less than 3% of the floor area of such a room or…”

The question remains: is it still safe?
At this point, more often than not the regulation is closed, the calculator powered up and the smoke is dealt with. The fact remains that “the devil is in the detail”.

Part T 4.42.1 b 4 states: “be designed to maintain a clear layer of 2,5m above the floor of the highest occupied level. This clear layer shall be maintained for the design evacuation period or 600s, whichever is the longer period;”

Has the designer satisfied all the requirements and is the smoke going to remain above 2,5m for 600 seconds? The calculations required to satisfy this requirement are substantial and many “deemed-to-satisfy” designers will be scratching their heads.

Undoubtedly, the application of the EN 12101 code is simpler, accurate and based on years of international research and proven scientific and practical experimentation.

The EN code is the European Standard, given the status of a national standard under a mandate given by the European Commission and the European Free Trade Association.

Part T 4.42.2 states: “In any smoke ventilation or heat ventilation system, the applicable equipment shall comply with the requirements of the relevant part of EN 12101.”

RVI, an ISO 9001 company, embraces these regulations, available to assist and investigate solutions to smoke challenges in simple and complex buildings. RVI currently produce the first and only locally manufactured EN 12101:2 compliant Smoke and Heat Exhaust Ventilator in South Africa.

The author, Ron Burns, travels South Africa hosting a seminar titled “Unscrambling the EN 12101 Code.”

RVI
Tel: (011) 608-4640
Website: www.robventind.co.za