Frequently Asked Questions

Design and Product Selection

Q: Where in the standards does it talk about AOV free areas?

A: Appendix C of Approved Document B of the Building Regulations specifies how the free area should be calculated.

Q: Is a top hung window compliant for smoke control purposes?

A: No. Top hung windows aren’t used for AOV systems as the hinge would prevent the flow of hot buoyant smoke to the outside. Bottom hung outward opening windows are best, as they act as a funnel for hot smoke, though side hung windows are acceptable too.

Q: Can I install the SP-300 panel in the smoke shaft?

A: No. The panel should be installed in a riser preferably out of the fire zone rather than in the shaft itself.

Q: Do I need a switch at the top and the bottom of the stairs?

A: While approved Document B only states that a Fireman’s Override Switch is required in the lobby, it is common practice to also install an FOS at the top of the stairwell for test and maintenance purposes.

Q: Do we need to provide access to the panels for maintenance?

A: Yes. It is good practice to install the panels in accessible locations for future maintenance.

Q: Do I need to buy a switch?

A: Yes. The FOS is required for use by fire officers on entry to the building and also provides indication of the status of the panel or system.

Q: What type of cable can I use?

A: An FP200 cable is required for all cables associated with smoke control. If the panels are also used for daily ventilation then these cables can be standard type.

Q: Can I connect the chain actuators directly to the fire alarm system?

A: No. The chain actuators work on 24V reverse polarity and require a secondary power supply to comply with building regulations.

Q: How often does the system need to be tested?

A: We recommend that the system be tested by a competent company every 6 months, although the building owner is also responsible for carrying out basic checks of the system on a weekly basis.


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