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Modern smoke control for historic Bristol cathedral

Client: Vinci / Blues Electrical

Location: Bristol


Bristol’s Pro-Cathedral of the Holy Apostles was the city’s active Roman Catholic cathedral from 1850 to 1973, since when it has been used for functions as varied as an independent school and a centre for the arts.

More recently, the building was acquired by Urban Creation with the intention of converting the Grade II listed cathedral and associated buildings to student accommodation and offices with main contractor Vinci.
This development called for a modernisation of several key building functions in order to meet current standards of safety and convenience, all while paying homage to the building’s history and respecting its listed status.


Vinci’s mechanical and electrical contractor, Blues Electrical, appointed Adexsi UK to take on responsibility for the design, supply, installation and commissioning of smoke ventilation systems to the building’s lobby and atrium areas. Smoke ventilation systems are designed to vent hazardous smoke away from escape routes in the instance of a fire, and allow easier fire fighter access – potentially reducing the level of damage to assets and property. Adexsi UK has access to products manufactured within it group, leading to cost savings on equipment and more efficient installation processes. A combination of systems was recommended for Pro-Cathedral, including its VeriShaft system to the lobbies on each of the floors. This system uses mechanical ventilation (i.e. smoke extraction fans) to ensure escape routes are kept clear without creating pressurisation issues with lobby doors etc. In addition, natural ventilation (in the form of VeriFlow) was applied to the atrium and lobbies, taking advantage of hot smoke’s natural buoyancy while also providing opportunities to aid in comfort cooling for the building’s occupants. These systems were integrated by Adexsi’s own VeriComm control system, ensuring the correct vents/fans etc operate when smoke is detected, so that smoke is prevented from spreading throughout the building.

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