MS in Fire Protection Engineering
College of Engineering
Frederick Mowrer and Christopher Pascual
This report is a Life Safety Code (LSC) and fire protection systems evaluation of an office building located in Colorado. This report covers the prescriptive analysis of the building, as well as the performance‐based aspect of the evaluation.
The prescriptive analysis of this report includes assessment of the building code for structural design, means of egress, detection and notification systems, smoke control system, and the water‐ based fire suppression system for this building. The 2012 International Building Code (IBC) and the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) 101 LSC were used for the prescriptive based evaluation and the building was determined to be compliant with the relevant code and referenced standards.
The performance‐based assessment was conducted in accordance with strategies and processes from widely accepted literature in the Fire Protection industry. Two different fire scenarios were evaluated using FDS and SmokeView to show that the building is tenable during evacuation and that the occupants are not exposed to any undue risks. The fire scenarios consist of a fire in cubicle space that is prominent in the building, and the other is a fire that begins in a convenience store on the main floor that opens into the lobby.
For the cubicle fire occupants needed 366 seconds to evacuate the floor. The first tenable limit to be reached in this fire was the temperature limit of 60°C and it reached that at 400 seconds into the simulation. The next criterion to be reached was the visibility limit of 4 meters and that was at 475 seconds into the simulation. There were no issues with the carbon monoxide concentration limit during this simulation.
The convenience store fire was looked at from three points, the fire location in the small office/storage area, the store area, and the lobby area. Temperature and visibility criteria were quickly reached in the fire location but it is assumed that there are no personnel in that location at the time of the fire. Visibility was the first criterion to be reached within the store itself but was still 40 seconds beyond the required safe egress time for the store. It was determined that it would take a total of 158 seconds to evacuate the entire first floor. Both temperature and carbon monoxide criteria were never reached during the simulation in the lobby area. Visibility of 6 meters was reached at 250 seconds but this is well beyond the RSET of 158 seconds.
Based on the prescriptive and performance‐based analysis of this building, there are no recommendations that need to be made. It could be worth considering an HVAC purge system to assist in the removal of smoke and toxic gases in the event of a fire but this is definitely not necessary. Another item to consider for this building is to install smoke or heat detectors in spaces that currently do not have them. By having detectors present in the areas where they are not existing and not required by code, it is possible to reduce the Required Safe Egress Time (RSET) by early detection and therefore, early notification. Again, this is not something that is necessary based on the analysis of this building but could add another level of safety for the occupants.