Gilberts helps protect twin towers


An “iconic” site that has been transformed into high rise, high specification living for young professionals is a showcase for the latest in modern methods of construction- including its fire protection.

The Coventry development- named Elliotts Yard after the automotive business that occupied the city centre site since the 1920s- comprises two separate buildings including a 17-storey tower containing a total 200 apartments. Modular construction techniques were chosen as far as possible to deliver a sustainable solution that simultaneously provided robust acoustic and fire safety performance, including precast concrete sandwich panels and the latest in smoke evacuation- Gilberts Blackpool’s’ Series 60 dampers.

M & E contractor on the project Excelsior Services (Residential)  commissioned smoke control specialist Baiceir to design the most efficient means of protecting the towers. Baiceir recommended installation of a Gilberts Series 60 smoke damper into the fire shafts on each floor (30no in total), with fan skids on the roof of each building to accelerate smoke evacuation.

Baiceir Director Andy Baker said:

“It is vital that tall, residential buildings are safe. We hope our clients never need to use our systems, but clients need the peace of mind that if the smoke/fire evacuation systems ARE needed, they will perform. The great design and quality of manufacture in Gilberts’ Series 60m smoke dampers makes fitting them a breeze; the depth of detail in their design and testing gives us the confidence to specify them!”

Added Phil Palmer, Contracts Manager for Excelsior Services Residential:

“As provider of all the M&E general services for the development, co-ordination and communication was essential, to ensure we delivered on time, and to the high standard required. We were confident that Baiceir would not fail us in delivery of the specialist public area smoke protection.”

Gilberts’ Series 60 is believed to be the only vent of its kind designed and manufactured in the UK. It has been tested to- and passed- all relevant tests (EN 12101-8 and EN 1366-10 and classified to EN 13501-4). Delivering up to two hours’ fire integrity. the damper combines a low leakage rate and high free area through parallel linked blades when open to deliver high smoke evacuation rates. Activation (by powered motor) is triggered to open the damper on the fire floor for smoke evacuation, whilst all other dampers failsafe close to protect the rest of the building. Series 60 simply slots into the shaft opening, with the installation finished by fixing the fascia grille.

Gilberts is recognised as the UK’s leading independent air movement specialist, offering grilles, louvres, and diffusers for natural, hybrid and mechanical ventilation. Founded 55 years ago, Gilberts Blackpool is unique in its ability to develop components, be it ‘mainstream’ or bespoke- entirely in-house, from initial design through tooling, production, testing and supply, at its 8825m2 manufacturing facility. Its state of the art test centre, designed and built in-house, is one of the most technically advanced in the country.