MS in Fire Protection Engineering
College of Engineering
Frederick Mowrer and Christopher Pascual
The purpose of this fire and life safety analysis is to determine whether Cal Poly’s Recreation Center meets fire safety goals. The primary fire safety goal is to provide building occupants with an environment that is tenable and allows for safe egress in the event of a fire, and reduce the likelihood of any catastrophic fire event. This goal can be achieved by protecting the occupants not intimate with the initial fire development and improving survivability of those occupants intimate with the initial fire development, NFPA 101, 2012. A prescriptive-based design approach and a performance-based design approach are used to evaluate building safety. The prescriptive-based approach is used to evaluate the building’s structural fire protection systems, fire detection and alarm systems, fire suppression systems and egress design, and is based on the 2007 California Codes in which the building was built. The performance-based design approach is used to analyze how the building will perform in the event of a fire. The performance-based approach evaluates the building based on the required safe egress time (RSET) and available safe egress time (ASET) for occupants to evacuate the building safely in the event of a fire. A tenability study was conducted to predict the effects of fire within the Old Gym space of the Recreation Center using natural ventilation to control smoke. The study is evaluated in this report using two computer software programs, Fire Dynamics Simulator (FDS) and Pathfinder, to determine if occupant safety is sufficient. The results of this analysis showed inadequate time for people to egress safely from the gym with the fuel load of the bleachers. It was recommended that a mechanical exhaust smoke control system be installed to increase the ASET and allow everyone time to egress safely. This report remarks on the sprinkler system above the bleachers; questioning the reason for their design to be based off light hazard and not the class A plastic high pile storage.