MS in Fire Protection Engineering
College of Engineering
Frederick Mowrer and Christopher Pascual
This project developed the traditional prescriptive-based design analysis of the fire protection features of an existing office high rise building in the city of Sao Paulo, in Brazil. The analysis was then complemented by performance-based analysis of the building. The building is a high rise office located in a metropolitan area, provided also with underground car parking garages and a small theater. The fire protection analysis was conducted based on the local Sao Paulo state fire codes, mainly the Sao Paulo State enactment (Decreto Nº56.819/2011) and Sao Paulo Fire Department Technical Instructions; and, in addition to the local codes, the analysis was also conducted in accordance with internationally recognized codes, primarily the International Building Code (IBC 2012) and NFPA standards. The local codes requirements were compared with the international codes requirements in each section, with the objective of providing an overview of the main differences and possible opportunities for improvement or further studies. The main differences between the codes were observed in the construction features to avoid vertical fire spread, egress design, standpipe design and overall reliability and maintenance requirements for fire protection systems. A detailed discussion is presented in Section 5 Conclusion. The design of the building has been evaluated based on prescriptive requirements for construction fire resistance and compartmentation, fire detection and alarms, automatic and manual fire suppression systems, smoke management systems and egress arrangement and capacity. A performance based design was developed for six selected fire scenarios, being three fire scenarios for existing office floors of different arrangements, one for existing theater building and two proposed improvement scenarios for a specific office floor with customized internal layout. Fire scenario simulations were developed in Pyrosim to evaluate the ASET (Available Safe Egress Time) calculations and Pathfinder was used to determine the RSET (Required Safe Egress Time). A successful scenario was determined by the ASET being greater than RSET with an appropriate margin of safety, so that all occupants will reach a safe area before the environment becomes untenable. The main conclusions and recommendations are presented in Section 5 Conclusion. The building is mostly compliant with the local regulations with a few recommendations being presented. In addition, comments were made for it to be safer and, where possible for an existing building, compliant with the reference international regulations. The most important recommendations refer to the egress features (remoteness and common paths of travel), considering that there is the possibility that the two existing exits in the office floors are blocked by one fire scenario in the exit hallway. In addition to that, it is possible that the unique door leading to the hallway from either the west or east open office areas of the building is blocked by one fire. Special attention should be given to office floor layouts that are modified by tenants, where make-up air or smoke extraction flows, as well as egress paths may be different from original design. The performance based design conclusions will show this same risk when applied to the office floors, reinforcing the recommendations provided for the prescriptive based design.