Which elevator smoke guard is the best?

The Smoke Guard  system was designed by an architect specifically to protect the elevator from smoke and to integrate into the surrounding architecture. The “Johnny come lately” smoke curtain competitors were not designed for this purpose.  They were made for industrial uses in factories or warehouses. Therefore their visual  appeal is lacking and it is more difficult to integrate these systems into a nice looking architectural elevator front. Because they also use an opaque  fabric and side edge track system instead of a transparent film and magnetic releasable edge they are not as safe for fire fighters or building occupants and have difficulty meeting the most current elevator code requirements.

Smoke Guard in Action

Compare the Difference

Enclosing elevators shafts with proper smoke and fire protection is crucial to building safety and code satisfaction. However, depending on which application you choose, there can be varying design implications and limitations.

This chart illustrates the differences between the fire and smoke safety solutions Smoke Guard provides at the elevator versus track-based competitors for the same application.

Product Characteristic

Smoke Guard

Track-Based Competitors

Side Guides

  • Magnetic connection has minimal impact on design and no impact on elevator
  • Rewind switch mounted on both sides of screen
  • Side guide track system requires architect and contractor to integrate the track into the finish

System Projections

  • Imperceptible below the elevator door head
  • Ideal for Class A office space
  • Side guide & housing is a surface mounted armature
  • Adequate for Class C office space

Egress

  • Primary : 4” square rewind switch on both sides of the curtain
  • Secondary: Manually pushing screen open with less than 15 pounds of force
  • Transparent systems reduced sense of panic
  • Rewind switch wired into elevator frame, potentially voiding elevator manufacturer’s warranty
  • ADA compliance of button is questionable
  • Opaque curtain could lead to feeling of entrapment if deployed position
  • Manual egress achieved by lifting curtain from bottom bar with grab straps

Limitations

  • Tested & certified for installation up to 12’ AFF or 8’ wide
  • Not certified for installation higher that 9’-6” AFF or 6’-6” wide
  • 2013 Elevator Code prohibits penetration or alteration of the elevator door or frame, unless that system is tested in its entirety with those alterations (ASME A17.1)

Curtain Material

  • Transparent curtain system
  • Fully compliant with all editions of elevator code
  • Emergency responders can immediately assess the situation from the elevator cab without compromising heat and smoke protection
  • Entrapment between elevator door and curtain not possible
  • Opaque material blocks view and darkens elevator cab
  • System violates the latest edition of Elevator Code which requires a “view panel” (ASME A17.1)
  • Allows for the risk of entrapment between elevator door and curtain

Cost

  • All systems accessible through unit door
  • No additional construction costs associated with installation
  • Additional electrical components required
  • Additional work and detailing required to enclose the system
  • More intrusive on design
  • Separate control box requiring access pane

Support

  • Manufactured in the US
  • Warranties are services by local distributors and backed by US manufacturer in Boise, Idaho
  • Dedicated distributor network, local hands on accountability
  • Manufactured in Europe
  • No warranty coverage from the US master distributor, coverage only from manufacturer in Europe
  • Distributor network covers only portions of the US

via the Smoke Guard Blog

Need help selecting the best elevator smoke guard system for your project? Contact us.

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