Will my smoke control system work properly during a fire? That is the question all building owners/operators should ask themselves. Smoke control systems are unique in that they often sit dormant (sometimes for years) and problems that can affect their operation may not be identified until it is too late. To ensure the right answer when you need it, catch up on device monitoring, commissioning, and why the self-test concept has received a bad rap.
Smoke control systems have a reliability problem. Too often, one can find a building with an existing smoke control system that is no longer functional. Problems are often identified at the point where modifications/renovations are made to the building that trigger a re-investigation of the system, and it is found out that: a) the system “never operated properly” or “no one really understood how it functioned” and the system was disconnected at some point; b) it was found to be improperly working due to a loss of function of one or more critical components; or c) it was found to be operating, but operation of the system either fails to meet the intended design criteria or exceeds those criteria in such a way as to create an unsafe condition in the building (typically by creating unacceptably high door-opening forces).