MS in Fire Protection Engineering
College of Engineering
Frederick Mowrer and Christopher Pascual
A detailed study of the fire and life safety systems was performed on the Powell Building located in Oak Ridge, TN. This report consists of both prescriptive and performance-based analysis. The prescriptive based analysis reviews the fire and life safety requirements in accordance with the applicable codes. The prescriptive portion of this report included life safety, fire suppression systems, fire alarm and detection systems, and structural fire protection. The performance-based analysis was used with viable fire scenarios to ensure that occupants could safely egress the building. This was accomplished by comparing the Required Safe Egress Time (RSET) with the Available Safe Egress Time (ASET). Three fire scenarios that were initially reviewed included a workstation fire, loading dock fire, and auditorium fire. The auditorium fire was chosen for further analysis with and without sprinkler protection. The time expected for occupant egress (RSET) was calculated using the method described in the SFPE Handbook 5th edition. The RSET calculated for the auditorium was 3.42 minutes. Two models were prepared using Fire Dynamics Simulator to analyze the movement of heat and smoke through the compartment to determine ASET via certain tenability criteria.
The Powell Building was found to be compliant with the prescriptive requirements in having more than adequate egress capacities, sound fire suppression and detection systems, and correct building construction. The performance-based models validate the importance of working sprinkler systems in the building’s fire protection strategy. Overall, the Powell Building can be expected to provide a reasonable degree of protection to its occupants in the event of a fire.