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Article | October 18, 2023

Genesis Station Smoke Control

The purpose of smoke control testing is to review and verify that the smoke control systems operate correctly to ensure the safety of the occupants in a building during a fire emergency.

Our team performed smoke control tests on nine floors at night when the building was empty. Multiple test scenarios were simulated. Western Allied Mechanical’s Startup and Test and Balance (TAB) crews manipulated airflow and measured differential pressures across exit doors for each floor. This part of the test is to ensure that the occupants can safely and easily open stairwell and vestibule doors as they exit the building, while also preventing any fire and smoke from spreading from its original location up or down to other floors through the stairwell.

A challenging aspect to this project was adopting an existing smoke control system while incorporating new systems to the building. Although the original design of the building was 100% office space, the construction transformed the building to consist of 50% office space and 50% lab space. The mixed-use combination involved more thought and consideration to create a smoke control system that does not compromise the safety of the new lab spaces.

During these tests, the team was faced with unexpected surprises from existing systems that challenged them to come up with creative solutions to continue forward and meet the construction schedule deadlines. One example was troubleshooting a variable frequency drive (VFD) to an existing stairwell exhaust fan that was nearly 20 years old. Fortunately a vendor of ours, whom we have established a good relationship with throughout the years, was able to find a technician who was willing to help us over the phone. Developing effective collaboration between the WAM team, the general contractor, and controls subcontractor was key to the success of this project and underscores our core value of “Dedication to Teamwork.”

We especially would like to thank the WAM Startup and TAB teams for their hard work and effort to complete the smoke control testing.

Authors: Kevin Ng and Joe Chin

About Western Allied Mechanical

Western Allied Mechanical stands on the cutting edge of HVAC system design and operation. We combine innovative thinking and technologies with intricate engineering to create, build and maintain comfortable, energy-efficient environments.

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