MS in Fire Protection Engineering
College of Engineering
Frederick Mowrer and Christopher Pascual
The purpose of this project was to analyze and compare the existing fire protection systems in “LA UNIVERSAL” building to current applicable codes and standards. Both prescriptive based analysis and performance-based analyses were performed.
The prescriptive based analyses included analyzing the structural fire protection, fire suppression, fire alarm, and egress systems. There are many fire protection features that do not meet the requirements established by the NFPA standards. The fire alarm panel does not provide enough address for the required number of devices required in the building. Emergency lights do not provide the minimum illumination established in NFPA 101. The egress components do not comply with the NFPA 101 standard because the travel distance in some cases is greater than 140 meters. An analysis for the installation of a sprinkler system was provided; however, this building only has a class III standpipe system. Considering the hazards that are within the building it will be important to install a sprinkler system. The building only has one available exit. Therefore, additional fire protection systems should be installed. These are but are not limited to: additional means of egress, additional notification devices, exit signs and a sprinkler system.
The performance-based analysis included developing a performance-based design following the performance-based option requirements of NFPA 101 Life Safety Code. The purpose of the performance-based analysis was to establish the required time to evacuate the building considering there is only one exit door in the building and people may not be able to evacuate the building. In addition, 3 fire design scenarios were analyzed. One of them is a warehouse storage located in the first- floor that has a door next to the only egress route available. In this design fire scenario flashover may happen after 256 s. However, the required safe egress time may be greater than 547 s. Therefore, in a case of fire, people inside the building could be trapped and unable to evacuate.
A structural analysis was also developed and considering the type of construction of this building a fire will not affect the structure. In order to develop these analyses three fire design scenarios were chosen. The areas were chosen where the highest hazard was present within the building and where a fire may impede people to evacuate the building.
It is recommended to test the existing fire protection systems in order to establish if they are working or if the system may need a replacement. Furthermore, a fire safety management plan was developed in order to provide recommendations to ameliorate the fire protection and egress time.