Colt Group

Colt Group

The Colt Group is a family owned business, founded in 1931, that designs and supplies climate control, smoke control, natural ventilation, solar shading and daylight technology.

The company is present in over 75 countries around the world through subsidiaries, license and joint venture agreements. The Colt Group's headquarters are in Havant, United Kingdom. The Group has manufacturing sites in the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, Singapore, China, Brazil and Saudi Arabia. It has approximately 950 employees and an annual turnover of GBP 146 Million (2010).[1] Chief Executive Officer is Antoine Ligtvoet.



Colt was founded in 1931 by Jack O’Hea. In the 1930s Colt's principal business activity was the development of ventilators for industry. During the Second World War Colt developed a series of blackout ventilators to ensure ventilation in blacked out buildings. These ventilators were adopted by the Government and many public authorities in the United Kingdom.[2]
In 1945 the UK Government started a massive rehousing programme using prefabricated houses. These houses were designed without fireplaces to save space, which created the need for an alternative source of ventilation. Colt designed its Constant Flow ventilator to meet this need.[2]
The post-war years also saw the reconstruction of the British manufacturing industry and the erection of new factory buildings across the country. At this time, Colt designed the Sloping Roof ventilator, which lay along the roof slope, reducing installation and maintenance costs. Colt also designed the Clear Opening ventilator for industrial buildings such as foundries. This ventilator design ensured cooler working conditions and natural daylighting inside the factories.[2]

In the 1950s, the advent of large single-storey industrial buildings in the automotive sector required a new approach to fire safety. Colt introduced the concept of fire ventilation for this type of building and designed the world’s first smoke ventilation system, which was installed in 1954 at the Vauxhall factory in Luton, UK. Colt has since sponsored and participated in research programmes to develop the science of smoke control. These programmes have spanned many decades and Colt’s involvement continues today.[3]
In the 1960s Colt began to expand operations to continental Europe, initially through a joint venture in the Netherlands. In the following decades the company has continued to expand into new markets and it is now present in over 75 countries around the world.[2]
In 1978 the O’Hea family gifted Colt shares to establish the Colt Foundation, a registered charity that funds research projects in the field of occupational and environmental health, especially those aimed at discovering the causes of illnesses arising from conditions in the workplace.[3] In its first 30 years of operation it has awarded more than £12.1m in grants to over 170 projects and supported almost 200 students.

In the 1980s Colt adapted its ventilation products to commercial buildings and entered the solar shading market. In the 1990s the company invested in research in the control of daylighting levels and solar power. This led to the design of Shadovoltaics, a combined solar shading, daylighting and electricity generating system for facades and roofs of buildings. In 1990 Colt designed, built and installed the distinctive steel pyramid on top of the skyscraper at One Canada Square in Canary Wharf.[4] In 1993 Colt Virtual Reality was founded to devise computer-based solutions to fire emergency planning in buildings. The same year, it launched its ‘Colterra’ aluminium alloy for ventilators made from 100% recycled material.[2]
In 2002 Colt introduced a new air conditioning concept in its Caloris Water Source Heat Pump System, which combines the advantages of VRF (Variable Refrigerant Flow) and heat pump technologies with a safe and highly efficient water based system. In 2009 Colt was the joint winner with Geothermal International of the H&V Environmental Initiative of the Year Award for developing a hybrid system that combines air and ground source heat pump technologies.;[5][6]

Products and services

a. Smoke control (including fire ventilation, smoke extraction, car park ventilation, corridor ventilation, staircase ventilation, pressurisation systems, smoke containment)
b. Climate control (including ground source heat pump technology, HVAC systems, acoustic louvres)
c. Natural ventilation
d. Solar shading (including sun protection louvres, brise soleil, glass louvres, aluminium louvres)
e. Cladding and performance louvres
f. Glazing systems
g. Daylight enhancement systems; heliostats
h. Design support and project management
i. Servicing and maintenance
j. Training


  1. ^ Colt Annual Review 2010
  2. ^ a b c d e The Sky's the Limit, Nigel Watson
  3. ^ a b Breath of Fresh Air, Families in Business magazine, Nov/Dec 2006
  4. ^ [1], Canary Wharf Group plc
  5. ^ H&V Awards
  6. ^, Colt UK

External links

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