MS in Fire Protection Engineering
College of Engineering
Frederick Mowrer and Christopher Pascual
The Gaslamp Hotel was analyzed for fire protection/life safety using two different methodologies; a prescriptive approach and a performance-based approach. Both considered the same features of the building. The prescriptive analyses studied the variation of the building’s fire protection/life safety components from those required by the applicable codes and standards. This included building construction, fire resistance, fire suppression, fire detection, smoke control system, and egress systems. The results of the analysis indicate that the building complies with the requirements of the applicable codes and standards, with three exceptions relating to occupant egress: 1) The first-floor bar area: One exit is provided, however two are required. An addition exit through the restaurant is recommended. 2) The 8th floor East and West Terrace areas: Only one exit from each space is provided, two are required. The use of horizontal exits along the east and west exterior walls was recommended. In addition, the east terrace requires the addition of a corridor and new exit door at the north end. The west horizontal exit can also be used to disperse pre-function occupants to the west. 3) Eighth Floor Corridor 885: This is a dead end, which exceeds 20 feet in length. A door should be installed at the beginning of the corridor. The performance-based approach included the evaluation of building occupant safety given two reasonable worst-case scenarios and two evacuation conditions. The results of the time-based egress analysis indicate that occupants, both remote from and intimate with the fire origin, could safely egress the building prior to tenability conditions degrading to life threatening conditions. Despite the successful outcome of the analysis, a recommendation was made to add additional low-level exit signs with the intent of improving the inclination for occupants to egress through the corridors in low visibility conditions. The structural analysis simulated the total burn out of the room of fire origin, which produced high temperatures for an extended period of time, 24 minutes. Two reasonable worst-case scenarios were considered. The results of the first scenario indicate the increase in temperature of the reinforcing bars within the concrete floor slab did not cause a significant reduction in steel yield strength and that even at elevated temperatures the reinforce concrete floor slab could adequately support the applied load. The results of the second scenario indicated that the reinforced concrete floor slab could still support the applied load, but only by a small margin. A recommendation was made to complete a higher order analysis to clarify the situation.