Regulations, testing and maintenance of SHEV systems

Find out here what is required for SHEV maintenance, how it is carried out and who is authorised to carry it out.

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3 November 2021 Fire Safety

The maintenance and inspection of smoke and heat exhaust ventilation systems (SHEVS for short) are regulated. We show you which regulations must be observed and what happens during maintenance.

Usefulness and benefits of a SHEV system

Toxic smoke is more dangerous than fire (smoke poisoning!). SHEV systems direct smoke and heat out of the building via domes or windows to keep escape and rescue routes clear for longer. SHEVS systems promote the exchange of air, i.e. through supply air openings (in the lower part of the building) and exhaust air openings (in the upper part of the building). Smoke extraction, i.e. the removal of smoke and fire gases, is most important. It is only in combination with the supply air that the chimney effect is created and the smoke can be discharged even faster.

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There are many advantages to having a smoke-free room:

  • People in the building keep an overview and can get to safety more quickly
  • Rescue forces can better save persons, animals and material assets
  • Firefighting is made easier for the fire brigade
  • Consequential fire damage is reduced

Prevent flashover

Fire heat is subject to enormous thermal stress. If the temperature in the room rises, there is a danger of a flashover. Flashover describes the phase of sudden transition from an incipient fire to a full fire. The room is then completely in flames. Therefore, smoke and heat must be dissipated as quickly as possible so that a flashover cannot occur in the first place and, above all, escape and rescue routes remain smoke-free for as long as possible.

Regulation for the maintenance of SHEV systems

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Legal requirements (Basic Law, StGB, MBO, MPrüfVO), technical standards (DIN 18 232 Part 2, DIN 57 833 Part 1), insurance guidelines (VdS, CEA, AFB) and the Construction Contract Regulations stipulate regular maintenance of SHEV systems. They state that maintenance must be carried out according to the manufacturer's specifications, but at least once a year by a qualified specialist company. In addition, the operator must carry out a visual inspection at least once between maintenance intervals. Both the maintenance and the visual inspection must be documented.

Maintenance of a SHEV system

The maintenance of a SHEV system is about the care as well as the testing of the functionality and operational readiness. All components of the SHEV system are checked. This includes

  • All types of openings such as skylight domes, dark dampers, louvres, double dampers, arcade rooflight dampers and window sashes.
  • Opening mechanisms
  • Control lines
  • Operating and triggering devices
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In addition, attention is paid to structural changes, such as the installation of new partition walls. Such changes can have an influence on the functionality. Used materials such as CO2 cartridges are replaced. Maintenance work such as cleaning or spraying lubricant on certain parts of the SHEVS rounds off the maintenance of the SHEVS. At the end of maintenance, all results and measures are documented in a control book. This must be shown on request by the operator, the authorities or insurance companies in order to comply with his obligation to provide proof of proper SHEV maintenance.

SHEV maintenance by qualified specialist company

Special expertise is required to carry out maintenance on a SHEV system. For this reason, only qualified specialist companies or persons who have the necessary expertise may carry out the maintenance. The expertise is acquired, for example, through training by the manufacturer. In addition, it is advantageous if the specialised company is certified at least according to ISO 9001 (quality management systems). Further qualifications such as certification as a specialist company for smoke and heat extraction systems is an advantage.

Inspection of the SHEV system by an inspection expert

SHEV systems must be inspected and certified by an inspection expert before being put into operation for the first time and then every 3-6 years (depending on the federal state). This mainly applies to SHEV systems in places of assembly, sales premises and industrial buildings. The basis for this is the inspection regulations of the federal states (PrüfVO, SPrüfV, ...) The inspector pays particular attention to the following things:

  • Functionality of the SHEV system
  • Comparison of the SHEV system with the specifications of the building permit
  • Compliance with maintenance intervals (maintenance contract)
  • Structural changes (change of use necessary?)

The results of the inspection are documented in a test certificate and handed over to the operator.

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Consequence for non-compliance with maintenance intervals

The operator is responsible for the regular maintenance and inspection of his SHEV system. Failure to meet this responsibility can have serious consequences, such as loss of life or even insolvency of the company. People can be injured, machines and goods can be damaged, customers can be lost due to production stoppages, and if the insurance cover does not apply because the maintenance intervals have not been observed, things look bleak for the company as well as for the responsible persons! Better safe than sorry! In addition, regular maintenance and care will extend the service life of the SHEV system. A maintenance contract helps to have the maintenance carried out regularly. CWS Fire Safety will be happy to do this for you.

When are SHEV systems required?

The official requirements and the fire protection concept provide information about the necessity. According to the MBO, smoke outlets are required in buildings with more than five floors above ground, in interior stairwells, in lift shafts and in basements if there are no windows.

What does the maintenance of a SHEV system involve?

The components such as confirmation and control elements, opening units, power supply lines and other accessories are checked for functionality and operational readiness, maintained and repaired if necessary. All results are documented in the operating log.

Who is allowed to maintain a SHEV system?

A SHEV system may only be carried out by qualified specialist companies. At least one visual inspection should be carried out by the operator between maintenance intervals and documented in an inspection book.

How often must a SHEV system be inspected?

The maintenance of a SHEV system must take place at least once a year and may only be carried out by a qualified person with expertise. Every 3 to 6 years (depending on the federal state), an inspection in accordance with the inspection regulations of the respective federal state is also carried out by an inspection expert.

Do you still have questions about the maintenance and testing of SHEV systems?

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