MS in Fire Protection Engineering
College of Engineering
Frederick Mowrer and Christopher Pascual
A fire and life safety analysis was performed on the Husky Union Building, which is the student union building on the campus of the University of Washington in Seattle, WA. This analysis was performed for the fulfillment of requirements for the Master of Science in Fire Protection Engineering degree from California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo.
The analysis includes both a prescriptive-based and a performance-based design. The prescriptive analysis includes the following elements: (1) Building Code Overview, (2) Egress Analysis and Design, (3) Fire Alarm and Detection, (4) Water-Based Suppression Systems, and (5) Structural Fire Protection
The prescriptive analysis was performed to determine if the building meets or exceeds all of the codes and standards at the time it was constructed. For this analysis, the current editions of the International Building Code and recent editions of various NFPA codes were used. In the five prescriptive analysis areas, there were no deficiencies found, and the building is in compliance with the codes at the time it was built.
The performance-based analysis was undertaken with the use of simulations and justifiable design fires. Two viable design fires were evaluated. Design Fire 1 was a fire on the first floor of the atrium during a special event, modeled as four event booths in close proximity to each other igniting. Design Fire 2 was a fire in the ballroom on the second floor, modeled as a electronic equipment igniting.
In accordance with NFPA 101, the analysis was based on providing an environment for the occupants that is reasonably safe from fire by the following means: (1) Protection of occupants not intimate with the initial fire development, (2) Improvement of the survivability of occupants intimate with the initial fire development, (3) A structure shall be designed, constructed, and maintained to protect occupants who are not intimate with the initial fire development for the time needed to evacuate, relocate, or defend in place, and (4) Additionally, NFPA 101 Chapter 5 (Performance Based Option) states: “Any occupant who is not intimate with ignition shall not be exposed to instantaneous or cumulative untenable conditions.”
In Design Fire 1, it was found that the Required Safe Egress Time was not less that the Available Safe Egress Time. The people on the first floor were still exiting the floor when the space became untenable for visibility and temperature. The main reason for this deficiency is that the design, while it met code, only has 6 exits on the first floor compared to 12 on the ground floor. It would have been prudent to add more exits on the first floor during the design process.
In Design Fire 2, the Ballroom on the second floor was fully empty significantly before any untenable conditions were reached.