Design documentation of a ventilation system – what to pay attention to

Both in new and modernised buildings, ventilation installations should meet many requirements set by current regulations, standards and principles of technical knowledge, and at the same time include modern solutions that meet the expectations of investors and provide comfort to future users. Nowadays, designers also pay special attention to the high energy efficiency of a building and to reducing investment and operating costs.

Design documentation of a ventilation system

The design documentation of a ventilation system and their preparation play an important role. Additionally, they affect the cooperation between the architect and the designer of water and waste systems. Experts in both disciplines work together to create a highly utilitarian and aesthetic functional space. They often use increasingly popular biophilic design. Another important aspect is the use of BIM technology, which has more and more supporters on both the architectural and construction markets. As we can see, the project team faces numerous challenges to come up with innovative solutions.
Achieving the objectives requires interdisciplinary coordination. Based on its experience, SMAY shares its knowledge with architects, designers and fire protection experts at every stage of the investment process. This information relates to the current regulatory state and the technical problems solved, and SMAY draws from a large number of all kinds of delivered projects, such as office buildings, residential buildings, hotels, schools, shopping centres, industrial and warehouse halls, hospitals or laboratories.

One of the most important problems for designers is the time pressure, in particular at the initial stage of engineering works. Therefore, the initial assumptions are decisive. They have a significant impact on further development of the design, investment costs and coordination with other industries. The adopted technical standard will affect the quantity of air and the size of shafts, and then the final shape of a building.

The technical consulting team at SMAY supports designers and architects from the very beginning. It provides guidance on the most appropriate solutions for comfort ventilation and smoke and heat exhaust systems for a given building. The concept consists of calculations based on an agreed standard, sanitary and electrical diagrams, a description of the system’s principle of operation, as well as lists and information on the selected equipment. The SMAY offer includes a wide range of products with many installation options; therefore, the devices can be adapted to any type of a building.

Vertical escape routes – the Safety Way smoke prevention system or the ZODIC staircase ventilation system

The design of the system for securing vertical escape routes should begin with the classification of the building in terms of its height or number of storeys, human hazard category, as well as its intended use and function, as specified in the Regulation of the Minister of Infrastructure of 12 April 2002 on technical conditions to be met by buildings and their location (Journal of Laws 2002, No. 75, item 690), as amended. A decision has to be made as to whether this will be a smoke prevention system or a stairwell smoke extraction system with air compensation by mechanical or gravity means. The correct solution will ensure safe evacuation of people from the building in the event of fire, enable rescue and fire-fighting operations and protect the building structure.

Design documentation of a ventilation system and the Safety Way smoke prevention system.

The Safety Way smoke prevention system consists of iSWAY aeration units and extensive automation. Its purpose is to create and maintain excess pressure in protected spaces (staircases, vestibules and lift shafts). This prevents smoke from entering the space.

When designing a pressure differential system, one must ensure that air can be extracted from the storey affected by the fire. Care must also be taken to ensure that the specified air velocity value is maintained at the emergency fire door. For example, windows with a certified actuator or gravity or mechanical exhaust shafts will help.

Technical standards used in the design of pressure differential systems
PN-EN 12101-6:2007 – Smoke and heat control systems – Part 6: Specification for pressure differential systems. Kits. Work is also underway on the next part of EN 12101-13, which we will be dealing with in the near future.
ITB No. 378/2002 — Designing Fire Ventilation Installation for Escape Routes in Tall and High-Rise Buildings.

NFPA 92A – Standard for Smoke-Control Systems Utilizing Barriers and Pressure Differences.

ZODIC smoke extraction system

The ZODIC staircase smoke extraction system with mechanical or gravitational air compensation is a set of devices for smoke and heat extraction. It was constructed on the basis of findings from real-life fire research (“Safe Evacuation” project,, CFD computer simulations and smoke tests. The components in this case are the smoke ventilation equipment (smoke dampers, wall-mounted exhausts, smoke ventilation windows), air compensation (variable air volume fan, doors, windows, air intakes), as well as automation and control.

Technical standards used in the design of staircase smoke extraction systems
CNBOP-PIB W-0003:2016, 2nd issue of May 2019 – Stairwell Smoke Exhaust Ventilation Systems.

PN-B-02877-4:2001 – Fire protection in buildings – Gravitational systems for smoke and heat extraction – Principles for design.

VdS 2221:2007-06 Richtlinien für Entrauchungsanlagen in Treppenräumen (EAT) – Planung und Einbau (Smoke extraction devices for staircases. Design and installation).

Comfort and fire ventilation of garages – Safety Car Park system

If there is a garage in the building, one should analyse how to address comfort and fire ventilation on the storeys it covers. Designers usually opt for jet or duct fans.

There are many aspects to consider when working on a garage ventilation project. The most important of these are the designation of fire and smoke zones, the number and location of emergency exits, the operating scenario of the system, the balance of compensation and exhaust air, the required evacuation time, the length of emergency exit ways, the time of rescue operations, access to the source of the fire, the location of equipment and shafts, or the use of parking platforms in the garage.

The need to install a smoke exhaust ventilation system in the garage should also be taken into consideration. If its surface area is less than 1,500 m2 and there is a direct entry and exit, there is no need to install the smoke exhaust ventilation system (§ 277(4) of Technical Conditions) Also, the development of e-mobility and the increasing number of electric vehicles present many challenges to investors, architects and designers in the field of ventilation.

Wojciech Łochnicki
Wojciech Łochnicki

Business Development Manager SMAY Sp. z o.o.

Magdalena Augustyniak

Head of the Design Support Department SMAY Sp. z o.o.

Are you interested in our solutions?

We look forward to talking to you about ventilation.