MS in Fire Protection Engineering
College of Engineering
Frederick Mowrer and Christopher Pascual
This report determines whether or not the fire protection and life safety features of Robert E. Kennedy Library are consistent with the fire protection objectives established in nationally recognized fire protection codes and standards. This analysis is performed to establish a technical baseline for identification of fire protection deficiencies.
Kennedy Library is the campus student library at California Polytechnic State University. The facility provides resources and services in a variety of media to meet the needs of university students and faculty.
This analysis consists of a prescriptive analysis and a performance-based analysis. The prescriptive analysis is an analysis of the building and its compliance with the building code and other industrial codes and standards. The performance-based analysis is based on guidance from NFPA 101 and evaluates the fire protection features of the building against specific performance criteria.
The prescriptive analysis consists of a review of Kennedy Library’s fire protection features against code requirements. The features reviewed include structural fire resistance, automatic alarm and detection, suppression, and life safety. The results of the prescriptive analysis include the identification of two deficiencies, one potential deficiency that should be analyzed further and one recommendation for improving the safety posture of the facility. The deficiencies are (1) inadequate visual notification coverage of the fire alarm system and (2) incorrect door swing direction of two doorways in the means of egress from the building’s interior courtyard. The potential deficiency is the coverage provided by the fire alarm system for audible notification. The recommendation is for the installation of an automatic fire sprinkler system.
Whereas adherence to prescriptive codes and standards provides an implicit assurance of safety, a performance-based analysis is performed with explicit safety objectives as the criteria for measuring success. The performance-based analysis evaluates whether the fire protection features in the building will protect the building occupants in the event of a fire. The criteria for acceptability are based on industry accepted tenability thresholds for building occupants. There are many criteria that can be used; the criteria used in this analysis are visibility reduction (13 m and 4 m) and temperature exposure (80ºC for 15 min). During this analysis a fire was modeled inside the library’s main entrance. The fire resulted in the main entrance being blocked prior to completion of egress (16 min), which has been determined through the use of hydraulic calculations. The results of the performance-based design indicate that, with the main entrance to Kennedy Library blocked by a large fire, the fire protection features of the building provide sufficient protection for all occupants to be able to escape prior to being exposed to untenable conditions.
The analysis concludes that the intent of nationally recognized fire protection codes and standards is met for Kennedy Library and the fire protection objectives of NFPA 101(8) will be met when the deficiencies identified in this report are resolved.