A first for Colt

Colt International has won the contract for what is believed to be the UK’s first smoke control system for a car park. It has been designed specifically to enable occupants to escape from a car park and to assist fire-fighting crews, rather than simply as a smoke clearance system that is commonly applied to car parks.

The £1.28 million project – part of Liverpool’s £920 million Paradise Street retail, leisure and residential development – involves the supply and installation of a Colt impulse car park ventilation system for the massive 56,000m², 2,000-space car park being built beneath Chavasse Park in Liverpool.

The four-storey underground car park will be fitted with 80 Cyclone induction fans and 22 Jetstream impulse fans. These are designed to keep smoke completely away from the escape routes without the need for smoke curtains or physical barriers.

John Perry, senior consultant at Colt, explained: “All the car parks we have done in the UK so far are smoke clearance systems, not smoke control systems. With the former, you have a designated extract rate. This car park is different because it is so large (with the largest level being 232m by 95m) that we have to move smoke from a potential fire into defined corridors. So, this is a fully designed scheme rather than a simple air change rate scheme. We are not merely clearing the smoke – we are controlling it.”

Prior to the award of the contract, engineers from Colt and the Building Research Establishment demonstrated the effectiveness of Colt’s impulse scheme for the Paradise Street project by conducting a series of hot smoke tests in a simulated car park in Middlesbrough. These established the accuracy of CFD modelling Colt had made before the test, and predicted that the scheme of impulse fans would be capable of controlling the spread of smoke from a car fire and keeping significant areas of the car park smoke free.

The consultant on the Paradise Street car park project is WSP and the fire consultant is Tenos. The main contractor is Laing O’Rourke.

Colt is due to start installing the system in September and to complete it in January 2007. Commissioning and hand over are scheduled for November 2007 and the car park is due to open early in 2008.

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