MS in Fire Protection Engineering
College of Engineering
Frederick Mowrer and Christopher Pascual
This report is a Comprehensive Fire and Life Safety Analysis addressing both prescriptive and performance based engineering analysis of the MOA Public Works building located in the Municipality of Anchorage, Alaska. The Public Works building was originally built in 1997 under the code requirements of the Uniform Building Code, as a Type II-N building. An addition was constructed in 2002 using the International Building Code (IBC), 2000 Edition. A prescriptive analysis is performed using the requisite building code and standards currently adopted by the State of Alaska, and by the Municipality of Anchorage. The currently adopted building codes and standards include the 2009 Edition of the International Building Code (IBC), the 2009 Edition of the International Fire Code (IFC), the 2010 Standard of NFPA 13, 2010, Standard for the installation of Sprinkler Systems, and the 2010 Edition of NFPA 72, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code. The prescriptive analysis reviews the occupancy type and load, construction type, allowable area of construction per floor, the use of an atrium, fire resistance ratings for building elements, means of egress, fire protection systems including water based sprinkler system, and alarm, detection, and notification system requirements. The required safe egress time (RSET) is also determined using a calculation method outlined in the SFPE Handbook of Fire Protection Engineering, and by the use of the egress model simulation software PyroSim by Thunderhead Engineering. (Pathfinder 2014). The performance based analysis addresses the ability of the occupants to egress the building within an available safe egress time (ASET) before tenable conditions are reached. Two potential fire conditions are analyzed using representative heat release rate curves as determined from full scale testing and by references. A model is created and analyzed using a computational fluid dynamics simulator program, otherwise known as FDS. (NIST 2014) The simulation results are then used to determine if untenable conditions of visibility and heat are reached. The data file for the FDS simulation was created using the graphical interface program PyroSim, by Thunderhead Engineering (PyroSim 2014). RSET values are compared to ASET values, to determine whether or not all persons can egress safely from the building during a significant fire before untenable conditions area reached. The end result of this project study is that if the fire sprinklers operate as expected, the calculated RSET value is less than the performance based ASET value, by a margin of safety. This allows enough time for all occupant to egress before untenable conditions are reached. Assuming the sprinklers do not operate as expected, the calculated RSET value is greater than or equal to the performance based ASET value. In this case the performance based objectives are not met, meaning untenable conditions are reached, and/or no safety factor exist before untenable conditions are reached. Suggestions of improving the RSET is given, along with suggestions of improving the performance based model. Appendix F provides questions and answers asked by the project reviewers during the project presentation on June 12, 2014.