Smoke management for large indoor spaces

Grand atria and expansive halls are centerpieces of some of today’s most architecturally striking buildings. Large rooms offer occupants a sense of continuity from one floor to the next, and when such spaces are flanked by glass walls and topped with skylights, natural light seems to cascade from ceiling to floor. The effect is impressive and lends a unique character to the building.

Unfortunately, such spaces can also pose a real danger in the event of a fire. Smoke can rapidly fill an atrium, but since the ceiling is so far from the floor, traditional heat-activated fire-suppression sprinklers are unlikely to be triggered until it’s too late. That’s why buildings featuring large spaces need a comprehensive smoke management system.

Watch Dr. David Banks explain the physics of smoke accumulation

A good smoke management strategy defends occupants against smoke toxicity and ensures that evacuees have access to usable escape routes. Such systems are usually mechanical, but passive systems can also be effective if they are designed to take advantage of local winds and incorporate the right architectural details.

Designing the right smoke management system is challenging. The methods described in most fire codes can’t adequately handle vast rooms like atria, so you could easily end up with a system that’s over-designed or—worse—under-powered. But there’s a better way.

With computational fluid dynamics (CFD) services from CPP, you can be assured that your design is occupant safe and resource efficient. Our engineers use state-of-the-art CFD simulations to predict exactly how smoke will flow throughout a space, giving you valuable insights into

  • How atrium size and shape affect smoke accumulation
  • The safest locations for escape routes
  • How much evacuation time occupants on each floor have
  • Optimal sizing and placement of vents and fans
  • How fires of different intensities can affect your smoke management plan

To learn more about how our smoke management experts can help you design spaces that are safe, efficient, and reliable, please contact CPP today at (+1) 970-221-3371.