Degree Name

MS in Fire Protection Engineering


College of Engineering


Frederick Mowrer and Christopher Pascual


This report is an analysis of fire protection and life safety features required for a Community Multipurpose Center (CMC).

Governing the construction of the building was the International Building Code (IBC). Throughout this report there are justifications for a call to redesign the CMC conceptual drawing.

The fire and life safety features were organized into five areas, otherwise known as the FPE core areas.

The first four core areas consist of (1) Structural Fire Protection, (2) Water-Based Fire Control and Suppression Systems, (3) Detection, Alarm and Notification Systems, and (4) Means of Egress System. These come straight out of codes – technically known as the Prescriptive analysis.

The uses for all enclosures, rooms or spaces within the CMC were categorized as (1) Business: Offices, professional or service-type transactions that include storage of records and accounts, barber and beauty shops, and electronic data processing; (2) Educational: Day care facility used for more than five children older than 2 years and 6 months of age to receive educational, supervision or personal care services for fewer than 24 hours per day; (3) Assembly Group A-3: uses can be Community halls, Dance halls (not including food or drink consumption), Exhibition halls, Indoor Field without spectator seating, a Gymnasium without spectator seating and Lecture halls; and (4) Assembly Group A-2: an occupancy intended for food and drink consumption limited to a cafeteria, the associated commercial kitchen, and a restaurant-like dining area.

There are storage rooms, however they are accessory to the occupancies within the CMC. Accessory storage uses include both S-1 and S-2 classifications. Uses (5) S-1 are hazards other than low such as bags, cardboard, boxes, furniture, and clothing; (6) S-2 are electrical coils, frozen foods, food products, fresh fruits in non-plastic containers, transformers, stoves, washers, and driers.

A total of 42 assumptions were used to complete this analysis. The first major assumption was a preference for construction type II-A. Another major assumption was the installation of a water-based fire protection system and designed using the CMDA method.

The size and complexity of the CMC requires that it be equipped with a combined voice and alarm communication system.

Another finding was that the floor plan evaluated is not compliant with many life safety requirements. Specifically, the means of egress requires an overhaul. It needs attention in the following areas: number of exits, exterior exits, capacity of exits, remoteness, exit passageways, dead-ends, and door swings opposite to direction of egress. These redesign needs imply adjustments to markings and sign locations.

Significant redesign needs, in the means of egress system, affects all other prescriptive core areas such as Structural Fire Protection (SFP), Fire Control and Suppression Systems (FCSS), and Detection, Alarm and Notification (DAN) Systems.

The need to overhaul the Means of Egress System will trigger addition or modification of walls, or any additional separation of space or occupancy to enclose Exit Passageways. These reconfigurations, most likely, will impact construction elements. Any impact to construction elements, as well as changes in ceiling heights, separations and draft curtains are considered under Structural Fire Protection. Moderate changes to structural elements should be expected.

Detection, Alarm and Notification Systems require a moderate redesign effort. It is likely that to accommodate some of the modifications necessary for the Means of Egress system, there will be adjustments to the Signal Line Circuits, Notification Appliance Circuits, and to the Emergency Voice and Alarm Evacuation System’s battery calculations.

The Fire Control and Suppression system is likely to be impacted on a minor scale due to room elimination and size adjustments. For example, the changes expected for the water-based systems are likely to be for the number of heads projected to be used due to room count or dimension changes. But the redesign should not impact the hazard classifications nor the water demand.

Performance-based analysis (PBA) is the fifth core area. It has been addressed by a simulation of a transformer fire inside a small room that endangers occupants in a larger room. A major PBA assumption was that the door of an electrical room is fully open at the time of a transformer fire within the room.

Computational models were used to support the occupant evacuation conclusions. Combining all the safe evacuation factors, the time needed to accomplish the life safety goal is suggested to be 114 seconds.

The available evacuation time was established at the smoke tenability limit for life safety – at the first indication of smoke at a level lower that 6 feet above the floor. Tenability is suggested to be reached at 169 seconds.

The combination of some safety factors and other assumptions indicates a Margin of Safety of 48.5 % between the safe and the available evacuation times.

Cohen C_Final Presentation.pdf (3021 kB)
Final Presentation



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