SE Controls creates dedicated smoke control solution for Urban Sciences Building

Newcastle University’s innovative and multi-award winning Urban Sciences Building (USB) is using a combined smoke control and environmental ventilation solution that incorporates a SHEVTEC control system, which was engineered by SE Controls to meet the unique requirements of the project.

Designed by architects, Hawkins Brown, the 12,800m² USB is the first structure to be completed on the 24 acre Newcastle Helix development and is home to the university’s world leading School of Computing, as well as providing extensive teaching and research facilities focused on digitally enabled urban sustainability.

The building incorporates a diverse range of innovative technologies, sustainable design features and fresh thinking, which includes a PV-T array, rainwater harvesting and a 560m² wild flower green roof, as well as a bio-dome, which uses waste CO2 heat and water from the building to grow food for the university’s restaurant. Also, 4,000 digital sensors and embedded computing technology make it one of the UK’s most monitored high performance buildings.

As energy efficiency and sustainability are key aspects of the building design, these principles were also carried through to the glazed facades, curtain walling, environmental ventilation and smoke control systems.

Cladding and glazing systems specialist, Dane Architectural Systems, were involved from the early stages of the project and used Schueco FW 60+ SG, with AWS 114 TipTronic concealed actuators linked to the BMS, which automatically activates vents and manages day-to-day ventilation. However, to ensure the smoke control system could integrate fully with the Schueco system, Dane Architectural turned to SE Controls, as a specialist contractor capable of providing a fully compliant solution that would fulfil the specific operating requirements.

As the Automatic Opening Vents (AOV) have specific zone requirements and operate in banks of three for normal ventilation needs, SE Controls designed the operation of the smoke control system to maintain the functionality and flexibility of the TipTronic control, while integrating with the system and providing effective smoke ventilation to the building in the event of a fire.

To achieve this, SE Controls worked in close collaboration with Dane Architectural and developed the new OS2 TipTronic SHEVTEC Controller, which is dedicated to Shueco’s TipTronic actuator system, enabling it to provide effective smoke and heat exhaust ventilation (SHEV) to the building.

Following the production of detailed schematic drawings, operational documentation and installation details, SE Controls installed more than 40 of the new OS2 TipTronic controllers at the USB, enabling routes to be kept clear of smoke to aid escape and access for fire-fighters.

Andrea Hayward, SE Controls Senior Key Account Manager on the project, explained:

“The Urban Sciences Building is a technological and sustainability ‘tour de force’ which reflects the advanced research activities undertaken at the university and we are delighted to have our own innovative technology incorporated within its design.”

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