Controlled Hot Smoke Testing is our speciality


Hot Smoke TestingHot Smoke Testing

Verifying the ability of a building to control smoke

It should never happen, but in the event of a fire the ability to control the build up of smoke will be the difference between life and death. Every building must conform to FSD and building regulations. AEM will run an active test, generating heat and smoke in a controlled fashion. The exact format of the test will depend on the physical construction and layout of the building, the smoke management techniques employed - active fans or responsive vents, but the aim remains the same. i.e. the measurement of the build up of heat and smoke over time, based on a controlled input, the ability of the building systems to extract/control smoke build up and the confirmation of the expected and achieved smoke clear height - the lower level of thermal smoke build up.

To avoid a waste of time and expense, all related systems should be commissioned and proven fully operational in isolation and in conjunction with each other before hot smoke testing.



Overview of Process

AEM has wide experience in Hot Smoke Testing in a variety of situations. We will assess your needs and design a strategy to ensure a satisfactory test is achieved.

  • Review Fire Strategy design and identify representative scenarios for testing
  • Prepare draft Test Procedure with drawings and agreeing this in consultation with senior FSD staff
  • Provide all test equipment, fuel, smoke generators & injection apparatus, sensors, telemetry, photography & video
  • Carry out photography and infra-red thermography for stills and video footage to assist interpretation of result
  • Validate the adequacy of Testing and Commissioning of installed systems before hot smoke testing is carried out
  • Carry out a Rehearsal test to identify any problems and test monitoring systems
  • Interface with FSD, arranging attendance of fire engine and crew for rehearsals and Formal Test, and present findings
  • Include any FSD feedback and lessons learned from Rehearsal Test
  • Execute the Formal Test in the presence of FSD staff
  • Preparation of final Interpretation Report for submission to FSD endorsed by Designer
  • Mandatory HK Requirement via Circular 2002
  • Means to validate design assumptions for smoke control ( Dynamic and Static Systems) in maintaining satisfactory means of escape
  • Provides integrated system test for all related systems
  • AS4391 standard intended to resolve any uncertainties


  • FSD Circular 2/2002
  • Australian Standard AS4391
  • Project Smoke Control Design Report
  • Specific Project Smoke Test Procedure developed for each test by AEM from above sources in conjunction with FSD and Smoke Extract designer

To verify correct performance of the smoke management system against approved design:-

  • Satisfactory operation of smoke detection
  • Proving operation of Smoke Management and Evacuation Viability
  • Validating Engineering Approach for Smoke Control Design by 'Scientific Correlation' to Test through results in Graphical and Numerical Data Presentation format
  • Correct sequence of control of alarms, smoke vents and applicable air inlet arrangements
  • Attaining adequate smoke layer depths / smoke clear heights
  • Visual demonstration of smoke venting performance including satisfactory flow of smoke
  • Defining and satisfying FSD’s Acceptance Requirements including conformance with FSD Circular 2/2002

Australian Standard AS4391

AEM uses this standard as it provides a convenient framework of procedures and reporting standards incorporating the scope for Mandatory and Scientific measurements. It is designed to be a repeatable and safe test method typically of 15 minute fire duration using water cooled alcohol fires. Guidance includes:-

  • Test Fire Size selection (60 - 1,500 kW) to achieve plume temperature 10° C below sprinkler activation temperature
  • Physical layout of test including dimensional limits for test zone
  • Plume volume at height above fire
  • Plume temperature at height above fire
  • Requirements for temperature measurements and photography / video
  • Outline guidance on tracer smoke arrangements
  • Safety and Test Management
  • Reporting of Results
Project Smoke Control Design Report

Usually there is a Design document for smoke control unique to the project with considerations for:-

  • Function of space and fire loadings
  • Expected fire growth scenarios
  • Required escape times
  • Calculated smoke clear height at end of escape period under design fire loads and growth scenarios during smoke venting / smoke extraction
  • Estimated response times for activation of detectors and deployment of sprinklers

The Hot Smoke Test will allow the design criteria and stated aims to be independently verified.