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ASHRAE Falcon Chapter, AMCA International hold seminar on HVAC ducts and dampers

Dubai Civil Defence discusses applications of new UAE Fire and Life Safety Code; attendees express positive feedback in view of market requirements

| | Sep 30, 2018 | 5:25 pm
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Dubai, UAE, 30 September 2018: ASHRAE Falcon Chapter, in association with AMCA International, conducted a seminar on HVAC ducts and dampers in the context of the new UAE Fire and Life Safety Code, on September 10, in Dubai. Liju Thomas Eapen, President, ASHRAE Falcon Chapter, highlighted the timely nature of the event by underlining the need for greater awareness and stronger vigilance. “The new Fire and Life Safety code has been in discussion for a long time,” he said. “The damages that have happened due to fire is immense. The loss suffered is not only financial but much beyond the commercial and psychological aspect of it. The tenants who are evacuated suffer depression. Getting back to normal life is hard; in many cases, they are owners of those apartments and all of a sudden left without a dwelling place. It is a concern how the fire starts and eventually spreads to other areas. If we can contain the fire at its start, a lot of inconvenience, damage, loss of property, market capitalisation loss can be avoided.”

Mandarr Agshikar, Director, AMCA Middle East, weighed in: “Fire and smoke dampers reduce fire severity and spread, enable fire suppression systems to operate more effectively and limit property damage. But most importantly, they save lives. AMCA wanted to ensure information like this, as well as other technical elements of the new UAE laws and codes, are understood and appreciated by the HVAC engineering community. AMCA is proud of our relationship with ASHRAE Falcon and appreciates their efforts in supporting our initiatives, to bring such vital topics to their members.”

Adrian Brown, General Directorate, Dubai Civil Defence, led the talks with a presentation on the new laws covering fire prevention and the role of ducts and HVAC systems. Agshikar said: “Brown provided a wonderful opportunity to reach the ASHRAE Falcon members with an important message at the perfect time. His presentation was extremely well-attended and the audience was very attentive to the topic.”

Atam Hayat, Business Development Manager, Leminar Air Conditioning Industries, expressed positive feedback with regard to the topic of discussion. “It was really nice to see that the Civil Defence is taking stern steps to ensure that manufacturers and suppliers of fire-rated ducts adhere to the latest UAE Fire and Life Safety Codes,” he said. “All fire-rated ducts should comply with three imperative criteria, with regard to stability, integrity and insulation, for both coated and non-coated, fire-rated ducts.  Another point to be highlighted is that the non-coated ducts should undergo all four types of tests i.e., Type A (insulated and non-insulated) and Type B (insulated and non-insulated)” Hayat said that reliable third-party tests help ensure that ducts being supplied are fire-rated as per BS 476 requirements. Elaborating further on the criteria, Hayat explained that stability failure shall be deemed to have occurred in a duct within furnace and in ducts outside the furnace when the duct no longer fulfills its intended function. For smoke outlet, he said, duct stability failure will also be deemed to have occurred when there is any restriction of the cross-sectional area of the duct to 75% or less of its original area. Integrity, Hayat said, is defined as the presence and formation of any cracks, holes or other openings outside the furnace through which flames or hot gases can pass. Lastly, Insulation failure shall be deemed to have occurred when the temperature rise above initial ambient on the unexposed surface of the duct outside the furnace exceeds either 140 degrees C, as an average above ambient, or 180 degrees C as a maximum value over ambient.

Hayat added that it is important to look beyond cost-centric thinking. “Cost effectiveness always comes into the picture, but cheap is one thing and life-safety is another,” he said. “The seminar helps clients and contractors be aware that life safety is more important. Cheap products are fine, but they should be compliant with new regulations.” Though there are gaps in knowledge in the market, Hayat said, the industry is becoming more educated, owing to efforts spearheaded by the Dubai Civil Defence, to educate people on the 2017 regulations and the move to implement one uniform civil code for fire-rated ducts throughout the United Arab Emirates.


Hannah Jo Uy is Assistant Editor at Climate Control Middle East magazine. She may be contacted at hannah@cpi-industry.com


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