Degree Name

MS in Fire Protection Engineering


College of Engineering


Frederick Mowrer and Christopher Pascual


This report is a comprehensive analysis of the fire protection and life safety components for an administrative office building designed for the Department of Defense. The owner of the facility has requested that all identifying information, including name and location, not be included in this report and has since been removed from the documents.

The building was designed in 2019 and is currently under construction. The building is two stories with a total area of approximately 125,000 square feet. The building is primarily used as office space for administrative personnel and consists of open and single-user office space, conference rooms, and associated mechanical, electrical, and storage facilities. Additional spaces include a two-story video production studio, printing room, snack bar, and spaces typical to most office buildings such as restrooms and break areas.

The building was evaluated for compliance with the applicable prescriptive codes and standards required for all structures designed under the Department of Defense. As required by UFC 3-600- 01, the International Building Code was used to determine fire resistance requirements, allowable floor area, building height limits, and building separation distances. NFPA 101 was used for building egress and general life safety requirements, including occupant loads, exit capacities, and travel distances. It was determined that the design of the building meets the applicable Building Code and Life Safety requirements.

The building is protected throughout with automatic wet-pipe sprinkler systems designed in accordance with UFC 3-600-01 and NFPA 13. The sprinkler systems are supplied from the existing underground water distribution system without the aid of a fire pump. Additionally, the facility is provided with a fire alarm and mass notification system designed to meet UFC 3-600-01, UFC 4-021-01, and NFPA 72. All active systems were determined to be designed per their applicable codes and standards.

A performance-based analysis has also been conducted to evaluate the building’s design in response to a design fire scenario applicable to the use, function, and contents of the building. Three design fires were proposed, and the one chosen evaluates the effect of a furniture fire within the first-floor lobby area. This design fire was chosen as it poses a threat to exit access travel paths in the first-floor exit access corridor as well as the second-floor lobby area connected to the first floor with an unenclosed exit access stair. Modeling software, Pathfinder and PyroSim, were used to aid in this analysis. Pathfinder was used to determine the Required Safe Egress Time based on a maximum occupant load per NFPA 101. PyroSim was used as the graphical user interface of the FDS engine to determine the Available Safe Egress Time applicable to the selected design fire scenario. Visibility was used for the tenability criteria when assessing the available safe egress times (ASET), specifically 33-foot (10 m) visibility at a height of 6 feet above floor level.

The analysis determined that the required safe egress time (RSET) for occupants to clear the second-floor landing is 269 seconds after ignition. The results of FDS modeling determined that untenable conditions begin to occur within the same space at 175 seconds, and complete failure in tenability occurs at 215 seconds. This results in a failure of the goals and objectives of the performance-based analysis for this area. The first-floor exit access corridor required 358 seconds for occupant evacuation. At the same time frame, the design fire created untenable conditions for portions of the exit access corridor, with visibility criteria failing throughout the entire corridor at 415 seconds. With failure starting to occur, and a minimal safety factor before complete failure, this area does not meet the goals and objectives of the performance-based analysis as well.

Results of the performance-based analysis indicate that there is not adequate available egress time with appropriate safety factors to ensure occupants have egressed completely or to a safe space in their required egress time. Therefore, it has been recommended that fuel loading be limited or prohibited within the first-floor lobby and/or additional separation be provided between the lobby and connecting corridor and between the lobby and second-floor space.

FPE596 - Project Presentation - Ost.pdf (10354 kB)
Final Presentation



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