MS in Fire Protection Engineering
College of Engineering
Frederick Mowrer and Christopher Pascual
This document is a Fire and Life Safety Report on the Taylor Place Dormitory located in Phoenix, Arizona as part of the Arizona State University (ASU) downtown campus. The building was evaluated on a prescriptive basis based on the current City of Phoenix building codes and further evaluated on using performance based methods from the Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE) Handbook and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 101 Life Safety Code®.
These building features and systems were evaluated using prescriptive methods:
General construction, fire resistive construction and fire resistive separations Occupancy, Life safety features and building egress Smoke management systems and features Fire protection systems, fire sprinkler, suppression systems, fire alarm Emergency and standby power, elevators, communication systems, and lighting
A performance-based analysis of the South Tower and Ground Floor Cafeteria and Assembly space using NFPA 101 Life Safety Code® Chapter 5 as a guide. The analysis of the South Tower was based on NFPA 126.96.36.199 and a typical fire for the occupancy accounting for occupants, number and location, room sizes, contents, fuel properties, ventilations, and identifying the location of the item ignited. The analysis of the Ground Floor Cafeteria and Assembly Area was based on NFPA 188.8.131.52 and an ultra-fast fire in the primary means of egress reducing the overall means of egress by two double door exits. These scenarios are analyzed using tenability criteria to determine if with the given the design fire, all occupants can exit safely.
Taylor Place generally meets or exceeds the prescriptive requirements for the system described above provided in the building code. Two specific areas were identified requiring further analysis: the corridor and two-story vertical opening separation is not provided in the South Tower per PBC Section 712, and the reduction in the door size of the south egress corridor on the ground floor. Both of these issues were addressed in conjunction with the performance based analysis and found to be acceptable with the current set of performance based recommendations.
The performance-based analysis was largely successful. The analysis of the ground floor egress given an ultrafast fire located near the southwest corner of the assembly space found occupants Required Safe Egress Time (RSET) was greater than the Available Safe Egress Time (ASET) meaning all occupants egressed safely. The visibility was lost in the cafeteria which caused the failure of the tenability criteria and the determination of the ASET. The second analysis of the two-story vertical common area in the south tower failed the tenability criteria for visibility during the first two evaluations. It was determined that the two furniture
standards as part of the ASU design guidelines varied greatly in fire behavior and smoke production. As a result, the furniture in the common areas meet the recommended requirements, the corridors will not require separation from the common area.
As part of the evaluation process, there are additional recommendations in the report including the addition low level egress signage in the corridors to aid egress, a smoke barrier in the entrance lobby, and the reasons are discussed in more detail in the report. Comments and recommendations can be found at the end of each section providing additional detail in specific areas.
The end of the report focuses on Commissioning of fire protection and building systems. A team is needed to effectively test all of the fire protection systems in accordance with their performance requirements. Functional tests performed on each system to ensure each systems were installed correctly. For example, stair pressurization systems can rely on several fans to pressurize each stairwell. A functional test will typically quickly reveal problem areas and you may even find a motor running backwards. Valuable information is provided from this stage in the project to identify maintenance requirements and finalize documentation. Fire fighter operation overviews need to be assembled, operation and maintenance manuals need to be created for building staff, and fire safety plans need to be implemented. It is very much a documentation and punch list phase of the project.