A lesson in fire safety at the University of Exeter

A lesson in fire safety at the University of Exeter

When the University of Exeter came to refurbish its Northcott Theatre, smoke ventilation specialists Whitesales were brought in. This 464-seat theatre required design ingenuity and expertise to meet British Standards’ specific guidance. Northcott Theatre has a separate stage with a proscenium arch and fire safety curtain.

This demands compliance with British Standards section D.5.4 for separate stage ventilation which means providing natural exhaust ventilation through an aerodynamic-free area of 10% of the stage area, opening automatically or by manual release from two specific locations. What’s more, the building was vulnerable to high winds and the client wanted easy maintenance, optional manual reset and day-to-day comfort ventilation.

Independently tested and certified to EN12101-2, the Whitesales Es-Louvre vent is specifically designed for exposed buildings under high wind loads and was the obvious first-choice method of smoke ventilation. Its blades open to 90° within 60 seconds, it features rain shields and wind detectors can increase its aerodynamic value if faced with strong winds. Whitesales engineers tested several design ideas, before proposing a solution that involved utilising a gable-ended ridgelight and incorporating twelve wind-resistant Es-Louvre smoke ventilators within the framework. Whitesales then designed, custom-built and installed a bespoke control system to operate the vent louvres.

This solution more than met the stringent demands of BS9999 D.5.4 Guidance for Total Smoke Ventilation and was completed within a single week. By incorporating the Es-Louvre into the Em-Glaze ridgelight aluminium structure, we created an integrated watertight unit that performs well thermally and offers natural ventilation for low-cost comfort. Because the design and manufacture was bespoke, we could also guarantee maximum and optimum smoke extraction, to leave clean, breathable air for evacuees in the event of fire.

To find out more about Whitesales products visit www.whitesales.co.uk, or to talk to one of their specialist technical team about your project call on 01483 271371 or email sales@whitesales.co.uk.

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