FIRE & SMOKE CURTAINS - NEW SECTION   fire-curtain-article-img

A NEW MASTERSPEC SECTION

Published 1 June 2016

Introducing a new Masterspec section 7383 FIRE & SMOKE CURTAINS which relates to the design, fabrication and installation of fire and smoke curtain systems.  It includes:

  • Fire curtains
  • Smoke curtains
  • Associated components and accessories necessary to complete the systems

A fire or smoke curtain may be a requirement of specific design to NZBC C/VM2 and feature in the Fire Report or for theatre stage design a fire curtain required by NZBC C/AS4, 4.6 Specific requirements for theatres.

SO WHAT ARE THE SIMILARITIES AND DIFFERENCES BETWEEN FIRE CURTAINS AND SMOKE CURTAINS?

Fire curtains

Fire curtains are tested to either

  • AS 1530.4, Methods for fire tests on building materials, components and structures - Fire-resistance tests of elements of building construction or
  • NZS/BS 476.22, Methods for determination of the fire resistance of non-loadbearing elements of construction, application to BS 8524.1, Active fire curtain barrier assemblies - Part 1 Specification
  • A fire curtain is used to provide fire separation between two spaces to restrict both the spread of fire and smoke
  • Fire curtains replace conventional fixed elements, doors, shutters or any other product providing a fire rated partition.  They are designed to protect lift doors, close voids used as smoke shafts, protect escape routes through a dwelling, protect counters, serveries, service shafts and allow escape along narrow atrium balconies.
  • A fire curtain is always automatic (active) and fully encloses an opening
  • Fire curtains may be designed for daily use

Smoke curtains

Smoke curtains are tested to BS EN 1210-1, Smoke and heat control systems - Specification for smoke barriers. There are no specific application Standards.

  • A smoke curtain is used as part of a smoke control system to control the flow of smoke only
  • Smoke curtains provide smoke reservoir boundaries, channelling screens, balcony edge screens and atrium balcony protection.  Smoke curtains usually remain above head height (except round atria or escalators).
  • Smoke curtains may be fixed or automatic
  • Smoke curtains are not designed for daily use

WHAT FORM OF CONSTRUCTION DO FIRE CURTAINS AND SMOKE CURTAINS TAKE ON?

Fire curtains

Fire curtain construction is typically comprised of the following:

  • A roller with integrated motor and bearings
  • A fabric fixed to and rolled around the roller
  • A weighted bottom bar fixed to the fabric
  • A head box to contain the mechanism
  • Side guides to retain the fabric and bottom bar.  In multiple curtains the rollers and fabric overlap.
  • Optional controls include multi-position deployment (curtain drops part way and holds for set period before full deployment emergency access switch is activated) and obstruction warning device (provides audible and visible alarm if an obstruction remains in place for a set period).

Smoke curtains

Smoke curtain construction is typically comprised of the following:

  • A roller with integrated motor and bearings
  • A fabric fixed to and rolled around the roller
  • A weighted bottom bar fixed to the fabric
  • A head box to contain the mechanism
  • Curtains may be gravity drop or drive down. In multiple curtains the rollers and fabric overlap.
  • Optional side guides may be available
  • Control is usually from a zone control panel. Battery backup is usually provided (essential if curtains drive down).

WHAT ARE THE ISSUES TO CONSIDER WHEN SPECIFYING FIRE CURTAINS AND SMOKE CURTAINS?

Fire curtains

Issues to consider when specifying fire curtains are as follows:

  • Close before starting smoke extract fans
  • Deflection, bottom bar and barrel assembly to be designed to prevent any deflection caused by the building's air pressure currents
  • Access for maintenance and repairs
  • Location of controls and battery backup
  • The provision of a obstruction warning system for a set period of time if an obstruction remains in place (e.g. in the egress path)

Smoke curtains

Issues to consider when specifying smoke curtains are:

  • Access for maintenance and repairs
  • Location of controls and battery backup
  • Air movement
  • Deflection, bottom bar and barrel assembly to be designed to limit horizontal deflection and billowing or edge gaps in the curtain
  • Location, not above the fire source

 

 

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