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B&Q goes natural

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A major new B&Q retail warehouse in Bedford boasts a number of innovative natural ventilation and smoke control features that could be rolled out more widely across the industry.
The 56,800 sq ft store in Ampthill Road, which opened in November, incorporates a builders’ yard and garden centre. It is the first phase of a £18.5m development programme. Having a robust smoke ventilation strategy in the event of fire is vital in such a high value building regularly visited by members of the public, but B&Q was keen that the chosen system could also do much more.
As a result, smoke ventilation specialist Adexsi UK was asked by the main contractor R G Carter to provide a solution that would deliver a high level of thermal control and improved indoor air quality as well as safeguarding life and property.
Adexsi’s CE certified Certilight dual casement smoke ventilators were chosen to provide a combined smoke control and natural ventilation solution.  The Certilight ventilators, as is common in most buildings of this type, are located along either side of the ridge line of the roof.  They are well insulated to help regulate the internal temperature by reducing heat losses during winter months from the building’s warm air heating system.
During the summer, the Adexsi ventilators will automatically power open to introduce cooler air when the internal space reaches a certain temperature. It works in tandem with the warehouse’s building management system (BMS) to help regulate internal conditions.
For obvious reasons, smoke ventilation systems require totally reliable power supplies so are supported by back-up batteries. However, B&Q had been concerned for some time about the problems of maintaining battery packs at roof level. The company also applies very tight working at height restrictions on its staff in line with national health and safety legislation.
So, Adexsi developed an uninterruptable power supply (UPS) solution that meant the batteries could be installed in the main plant room making access safer and easier for maintenance personnel. Another benefit of this solution was reduced cable runs to the roof plus easier and lower cost installation of the complete system. The use of a UPS also removes the potential problem of voltage drop at high level.
Adexsi UK’s Certilight Twin Flap Ventilators are specifically designed for installation in glazing systems with high atria and are tested to EN12101-2 for smoke ventilation. The opening frame includes a thermal bridge for improved thermal performance. They are designed for ultimate reliability with the potential to open 1,000 times for smoke ventilation purposes and up to 10,000 times to provide daily ventilation.
“We have developed an extensive understanding of the particular needs of this type of retail facility,” said Adexsi UK national sales manager Chris Shepherd. “This means we are well placed to work closely with end clients on innovative solutions that meet their changing requirements.
“We are very hopeful that the innovations at Bedford can now be more widely applied across B&Q’s extensive property portfolio.”