MS in Fire Protection Engineering
College of Engineering
Frederick Mowrer and Christopher Pascual
This is the culminating project report for the Fire Project Engineering Master’s of Science at California Polytechnic at San Luis Obispo. This project will consider a project for the US military in Japan, JFY893 Community Support Facility, Yokosuka Naval Base. The subject facility consists of a library, education center, family services, and other community services. The Library shall serve as the Main Base Library, keep and store books and provide library services for active duty population, dependents and retirees. The Education Center provides services for advancing of the academic, technical, and vocational education of military personnel of all grades and ranks in order to enhance their potential to the military services. The Family Service shall provide information and referral services, education and training services, and counseling service for active duty population with services usable to dependents and retirees.
This paper will be separated into three different components. First, the subject facility will be introduced so that its function is understood to the reader. The background of the project will go into specific floor and room detail and also provide occupant load information per room and floor. It will also be noted that Japanese criteria as well as US criteria and Department of Defense criteria will be used for the design of this project.
The prescriptive and performance-based analysis of the subject facility will be performed. The prescriptive-based analysis will be based on the core Fire Protection Engineering Courses. The performance-based analysis will be based on three design fires. The building has passed all prescriptive and performance-based analysis and is deemed to be safe from a fire safety perspective.
The occupancy classification and means of egress will be discussed as per FPE521 Egress Analysis and Design. The first floor has been classified as a ordinary hazard 2 due to the main library. The upper floors have been categorized as a light hazard. Based on the occupant load, there are three stairwells and the facility exits and doorways have been sized accordingly.
The electrical and communications system will be considered as per FPE522 Fire Detection and Alarm Systems. Although very similar, the Japanese criteria on alarm spacing is slightly stricter and thus resulting in a larger number of alarms and detectors in the facility. Furthermore, the Department of Defense criteria regarding Mass Notification Systems is also applied to further reinforced intelligibility requirements of the facility.
The mechanical engineering systems will be covered via the FPE523 Fire Suppression System class. One significant difference in the fire suppression system is that the Japanese Building Standard Law requires a fire pump, emergency generator, and water cistern even though there is sufficient supply. Furthermore, the fire sprinkler demand is dictated by the stricter US Department of Defense criteria, UFC 3-600-01.
Thus, the fire suppression system is safer than the NFPA prescribed rules since they are exceeded.
The fire safety strategy of the fire resistance in the building will be discussed through the FPE 524 Structural Fire Protection course coverage. Based on the International Building Code, the required construction classification will be Class II. The materials used to construct the columns, beams, floor assemblies, roof assembly, exterior walls, interior walls, door openings, joints, penetrations, and partitions will be distinguished. Since Japan is in a seismic region and due to the new seismic laws, the structural requirements have increased. Furthermore, due to the new anti-terrorism and force protection laws by the Department of Defense, the building would need to be able to withstand a 40-ton car bomb since it is a primary gathering facility. Due to all these structural requirements, this building will be able to withstand significant threats from fire, external threats such as explosions, and natural events such as earthquakes.
The next section of the project paper is the performance-based analysis. The performance-based analysis will be analyzed in several sections. The performance-based analysis will be based on three fire scenarios. Then, the Required Safe Egress Time (RSET) will need to be considered. An analysis of the time taken by occupants to safely escape from the effects of fire will be done in a quantitative and methodical way. Next, the Available Safe Egress Time (ASET) will need to be evaluated.
Three design fires which will be located on the main library floor will be considered in this paper. A fire in the main book stacks of the library will be considered and the fire will be modeled by the traveling fire method due to the long span of the book shelves in a large open room. The second fire will be the book stacks in the periodical room which is significantly spaced closely together in a small enclosed space. The third fire will be designed after a workstation fire in the multi-media room.
The Required Safe Egress Time (RSET) is a summation of the time to notification from the sounding of an alarm, the reaction time of the occupants of the facility, the pre- evacuation activity time, and the actual travel time to egress the facility. Based on calculations and some assumptions, the required safe egress time is conservatively calculated at 8 minutes and 8 seconds to evacuate close to 1,500 occupants from the four- story building. . The Available Safe Egress Time (ASET) is the time the effects of fire reach the tenability limits prescribed in the acceptance criteria will be determined. There are several factors which will need to be considered. The subject facility’s structural integrity and its ability to survive the fire will need to be evaluated. The ability of the occupants to egress the facility when subjected to intense heat and smoke will also need to be considered as well. Computer modeling such as Fire Dynamics Simulator (FDS) will be used. Due to the higher prescriptive standards, the ASET exceeded the RSET in when evaluated against all these factors.
The final section will conclude with an evaluation of the facility from a prescriptive and performance-based analysis of the subject facility. Further, recommendations on changes that could have been made to make the facility safer will be presented. Although there were many challenges of planning and designing a US military facility in a foreign country, the reliance on the strictest rule resulted in a safer facility.