MS in Fire Protection Engineering
College of Engineering
Frederick Mowrer and Christopher Pascual
In partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Degree of Masters of Science in Fire Protection Engineering, a prescriptive and performance-based engineering analysis was performed on the Orangeburg Assembly Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses. The building was recently constructed and completed in 2013 in Orangeburg, South Carolina to serve as a center for education of Jehovah’s Witnesses on Biblical principles for daily life. More than 300 congregations throughout Georgia and the Carolinas will use the Assembly Hall for their semi-annual assemblies and conventions, with an estimated annual attendance of 190,000 per year. Prescriptive analyses were conducted based primarily upon the provisions of the 2009 International Building Code (IBC), International Fire Code (IFC), and the 2009 edition of the National Fire Protection Association standard, NFPA 101, Life Safety Code. Where required by the referenced building and fire codes, other NFPA codes and standards such as the 2010 editions of NFPA 13, Automatic Sprinkler Systems Handbook and NFPA 72, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code were also referenced. Fire protection system analysis included reviewing and establishing a safe means of egress system, fire detection, alarm and notification system, water-based fire suppression system, smoke management system and structural fire protection. Results are provided with respect to each. The performance-based analyses focused primarily upon the ability of occupants to safely escape the building after the onset of various fire events by creating a tenable environment in concert with a smoke management system. The computer fire model, “Fire Dynamics Simulator” (FDS) version 6 produced by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), was used to estimate the available safe egress time (ASET) of occupants under applicable fire scenarios. The required time needed for safe egress (RSET) was determined based upon calculation methods set forth in the Society of Fire Protection Engineering (SFPE), Handbook of Fire Protection Engineering (HBFPE) in conjunction with a computer egress model, “Pathfinder” version 2011 produced by Thunderhead Engineering. Available (ASET) and required safe egress times (RSET) were compared for analysis purposes. It should be noted that these recommendations are considered a best effort and are presumed technically valid for academic purposes only and do not represent the design decisions of the actual building design.