MS in Fire Protection Engineering
College of Engineering
Frederick Mowrer and Christopher Pascual
This report contains an analysis of the life safety and fire protection features of a four-story apartment building in Maple Grove, Minnesota. The report is a part of the final project intended to meet the requirements for the Culminating Experience of the California Polytechnic Master of Science Fire Protection Engineering Program.
The apartment building chosen for the analysis is a mixed-use four-story wood-framed structure. The first floor of this structure includes office space for building management, a meeting space, and various electrical and mechanical spaces as well as apartments. There are exit stairways on each end of the structure extending up all four floors, and a center stairway extending up only to the second floor. There is a parking garage in the basement that is comprised of cinder block walls, steel girders for support above, and metal pan with poured concrete for the garage ceiling. The building is fully sprinklered throughout.
This report contains analysis of the prescriptive code requirements as well as the fire protection and life safety features of the apartment structure. Topics discussed include means of egress, fire suppression system, fire alarm and detection and structural fire protection.
This report evaluates the International Code Council model building and fire codes and the National Fire Protection Associations codes and standards as a prescriptive code analysis for this multi-tenant apartment building. The building is found to be in compliance with the documented codes and standards in effect at the time of building design and assembly.
This report also contains a performance-based evaluation. The performance-based evaluation included in Section 7 of the report describes two design fire scenarios to determine the capability of occupants to safely evacuate in the event of the fire scenario. Both fire scenarios are evaluated for performance-based analysis. Three potential scenarios are as follows: 1) An occupancy-specific design fire scenario that is representative of a typical fire for the occupancy; 2) A fire that starts in a normally unoccupied room that may endanger large numbers of occupants; 3) The most severe fire resulting from the largest possible fuel load characteristic of the normal operation of the building.
Selected Design Fire Scenario 1: The design fire involves a kitchen fire in a fourth story apartment unit adjacent to an east egress stairwell. This kitchen fire is based on unattended oil on a cook top igniting and enveloping the combustible kitchen elements, spreading to the living room and dining room. The projected heat release rate maximizes at 4.0 MW with a time to peak following the incipient phase estimated at 136 seconds. This fire scenario also includes fire sprinkler heads located as documented on the design drawings, as well as a fire scenario with the apartment door open and closed to evaluate the impact on smoke spread into the hallway which is a common access egress path. Tenability criteria with all safety features engaged was not exceeded at any point during the simulation for this design fire. The available safe egress time (ASET) exceeded the model run time of 450 seconds.
Selected Design Fire Scenario 2: The second design fire involves a fire within the trash room on the first floor, which is adjacent to the center stairway, the elevator, and in close proximity to the east stairway. The fire assumes plastic, wood, and other cellulose materials such as cardboard with a projected maximum heat release rate of 4.5 MW with a t2 ramp up curve equivalent to 0.047 kW/s2. An additional issue is the trash chute that extends up all four floors. This is a metal lined chute with a temperature-dependent release mechanism. The room is equipped with smoke detection and fire sprinklers, in addition to the fusible link for the trash chute. The fire is contained within the room for the duration of the fire scenario and the fusible link to the trash chute activates at 165° F. All egress paths in the vicinity of this space maintain tenability during the 9-minute FDS run time of the model.