MS in Fire Protection Engineering
College of Engineering
Frederick Mowrer and Christopher Pascual
B-91 is a multiuse building on a Department of Defense installation rented out to a defense contractor consisting of laboratory, office, storage, and utility spaces. To determine the adequacy of the building’s fire protection systems as determined by the state-adopted 2015 International Building Code, a prescriptive analysis was performed with specific areas of focus on the building construction and occupancy, emergency egress capacity, fire suppression systems, and fire alarm systems. The building is compliant with code requirements in its construction and the fire alarm systems are adequately designed to provide notice, but the egress from the building’s main conference room is inadequate in its remoteness, and the building’s water supply is insufficient for the demands of the suppression system as installed.
To further analyze the sufficiency of B-91’s fire safety, a performance based analysis was performed using three design fires built to fulfill the requirements of design fire scenarios 1, 6, and 8 as outlined in Chapter 5 of NFPA 101. The tenability criteria are the temperature of supporting steel not reaching plasticity, the descent of the smoke layer and associated lethal temperature into the breathing zone, and the disruption of egress by limiting visibility in adjacent corridors. Using the Fire Dynamics Simulator developed by NIST, the building’s performance was analyzed. Findings include insufficient structure in the paint booth, and the fuels lab reaching flashover to violate breathing zone tenability, making the building insufficiently designed by the performance metrics outlined. B-91’s fire safety is insufficient from both prescriptive and performance based perspectives. The building’s fire water supply should be improved, or the fire suppression piping network upsized to reduce pressure demand to alleviate prescriptive issues. A full smoke control system should be installed to maintain breathing air tenability to meet performance requirements.