Control of Fire and Smoke
ASHRAE Technical Committee 5.6

Scope of TC 5.6

TC 5.6 is concerned with the design and application of systems and components for the protection of life and property from fire and smoke in buildings.


The ASHRAE Handbook is published in a series of four volumes, one of which is revised each year, ensuring that no volume is older than four years.

The Handbook can be purchased at the ASHRAE Bookstore by clicking on this link.

TC 5.6 is responsible for the following chapter in the ASHRAE Handbook HVAC Applications Volume:

Fire and Smoke Control
Smoke, which causes the most deaths in fires, consists of airborne solid and liquid particles and gases produced when a material undergoes pyrolysis or combustion, together with air that is entrained or otherwise mixed into the mass. In building fires, smoke often flows to locations remote from the fire, threatening life and damaging property. Stairwells and elevators frequently fill with smoke, thereby blocking or inhibiting evacuation. For an extensive technical treatment of smoke control and related topics, see the Handbook of Smoke Control Engineering, referred to in this chapter as the Smoke Control Handbook. For those interested in the theoretical foundations of smoke control, the Smoke Control Handbook includes an appendix of derivations of equations.

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Technical committees develop and sponsor technical sessions at the winter and annual conferences. Information about their future technical program is discussed at each TC meeting and at the TC’s Program Subcommittee meeting.

ASHRAE publishes papers and transactions from presentations at its conference events. In addition, ASHRAE records most of the seminar sessions from its conferences on DVD. These DVDs are ideal for use at chapter meetings, in university courses, or company lunch and learns. Products available from the most recent conference may be found here.


Technical Committees are responsible for identifying research topics, proposing research projects, selecting bidders, and monitoring research projects funded by ASHRAE. Information about their specific research program is discussed at each TC meeting and at the TC’s Research Subcommittee meeting.

TC 5.6 has the following on-going research projects:

Conduct full scale fire experiments and tenability analysis of the experimental test results to determine whether pressure compensating systems are needed to maintain tenable conditions within pressurized stairwells when the door from the fire floor to the stairwell is closed and one or more other doors in the stairwell are open.

The main objective of this project is to develop tools that can be used by smoke control system designers to create make-up air systems that supply air at a velocity greater than 200 fpm (1 m/s) at the supply grille while maintaining safe conditions in exit pathways within the atrium.

In addition TC 5,6 has the following research project under development:

New RTAR 1644 (Smoke Control in Long Atria):
Main goal is to determine when existing calculations are no longer valid.  Designer could then choose how to deal with it (treat as multiple atria, use CFD, etc.)

RTAR was reviewed by the RAC and was returned with comments requesting further revision and clarification. . Main comments:
    o   Lacks details about deliverables
    o   Please address budget concerns
    o   Unclear how data would be used by ASHRAE

Weather data
During discussions at the Research subcommittee meeting, it was noted that the weather data that is published in the ASHRAE handbook is not in a form that is readily used for smoke control design.

John Klote will take the lead and contact the TC responsible for the weather data about what info is needed for smoke control, so that future updates to the ASHRAE weather data will be more useful for smoke control designers.


ASHRAE writes standards for the purpose of establishing consensus for: 1) methods of test for use in commerce and 2) performance criteria for use as facilitators with which to guide the industry. ASHRAE publishes the following three types of voluntary consensus standards: Method of Measurement or Test (MOT), Standard Design and Standard Practice. ASHRAE does not write rating standards unless a suitable rating standard will not otherwise be available. ASHRAE is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and follows ANSI's requirements for due process and standards development. Standards may be purchased at the ASHRAE Bookstore.

TC 5.6 is cognizant for this guideline:
Guideline 1.5: The Commissioning Process for Smoke Control Systems

TC 5.6 is co-cognizant with TC 5.1 on this standard:
Standard 149: Laboratory Methods of Testing Fans Used to Exhaust Smoke in Smoke Management Systems

Other Activities

TIP: If MTG involvement add here otherwise leave blank.

Include other activities, such as MTG involvement, into this section.


ASHRAE Technical FAQs are provided as a service to ASHRAE members, users of ASHRAE publications, and the general public. While every effort has been made to ensure their accuracy and reliability, they are advisory and provided for informational purposes only, and in many cases represent only one person’s view. They are not intended and should not be relied on as an official statement of ASHRAE. Technical questions not addressed may be submitted to the ASHRAE Technical Services department at