Life safety systems in the heart of the Middle East

fire protection 1312423 640(Image source: multifacaetedgirl/pixabay)David Millington, director of Kent Smoke and Fire Curtains, discusses the company’s manufacturing facility in Dubai, and why the use of smoke and fire curtains is increasing

Kent Smoke and Fire Curtains, a British owned company, is the sole manufacturer of smoke and fire curtains in the Middle East. Originated in the UAE, with a 3,750 sq m manufacturing base in Dubai, Kent is in fact one of the few facilities across the globe producing smoke and fire curtains with a high level of expertise. Kent is equipped to cater to the growing demands for active and passive design fire solutions in the dynamic construction landscape in the GCC market and beyond, with the ability to provide bespoke solutions in line with modern day architectural non-standard designs.

Millington explains that smoke and fire curtains originated in the UK, when they began to be widely used in malls, airports, commercial and other residential type buildings that sprang up with a need for Smoke management and design fire strategies, in line with the ever evolving national building codes. “The use of smoke and Fire curtains saw growth post this period and curtains started gaining popularity in part due to their flexible, lightweight, compact and unique design features.” He adds that smoke curtains in particular, were used in the design of modern, architectural solutions, whereby life safety systems were not compromised. Commercial buildings, at that time, were looking for alternate solutions for smoke management systems in lieu of the static elements of construction works, which were historically used to create smoke barriers.

Turning to the rationale for establishing a manufacturing base in Dubai, Millington highlights the construction boom in the GCC market since 2000, and the developing role of the GCC as innovators in the construction landscape. It was around 2003-2004, when he started working in the GCC region on projects in Dubai, that he witnessed the shifting of focus to the new life safety systems, including smoke and fire curtains. “The GCC has amazing, iconic buildings with non-standard designs and layouts, which needed a product that was flexible and unique in design. Automatic smoke and fire curtains fulfil the requirements for adequate smoke management systems in line with stringent Dubai Civil Defence codes, given their properties of being lightweight, compact and capable of being designed to bespoke requirements.”

The Civil Defence Authorities in this region are pro-active and making life safety the utmost priority, and have made the fire and life safety codes stringent, making it difficult to operate with an average product. What is needed in the GCC is a class product, with a portfolio of certification and test report; this has given the company an edge in terms of its reputation as manufacturers focused on the quality of fire and life safety systems. 

It was against this background of the growing need for the systems in the GCC region, that the company made the decision to set up a world class modern manufacturing facility in Dubai, to serve the region.

The state of the art manufacturing base is equipped with advanced modern European technology, with its skilled team working with passion to create intricate life safety systems to the highest quality to meet client requirements in terms of designs and demanding lead times, offering the best in design and technical assistance on projects of varied scale.

 “We have our products installed across GCC, in iconic projects including the Atlantis at the Palm, Dubai Mall and Masdar City in Abu Dhabi,” says Millington. “Our mission is to ensure our clients receive a product manufactured to the highest quality, together with certification of the highest level and unparalleled after sales service. Kent automatic smoke and fire curtains have been tested in accordance with British, European (BS EN) and UL standards and are covered by EXOVA CERTIFIRE and UL third party accreditation. Our Management systems are registered and certified to 9001:2008. (9001:2015 pending)

With thirty years of experience in the curtain industry and a portfolio of certification, Kent is   geared up to satisfy the ever demanding life safety requirements within the GCC and global markets. 

Alain Charles Publishing, University House, 11-13 Lower Grosvenor Place, London, SW1W 0EX, UK
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