MS in Fire Protection Engineering
College of Engineering
Frederick Mowrer and Christopher Pascual
A Fire and Life Safety Analysis was performed as one of the requirements for the Master of Science Degree in Fire Protection Engineering from California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo. The Fire and Life Safety Analysis consists of a prescriptive analysis as well as a performance based analysis. These analyses were performed on the Bonderson Engineering Projects Center which is part of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. The prescriptive analysis consisted of the four following parts: Egress Analysis and Design, Fire Detection and Alarm Systems, Water-based Fire Suppression, and Structural Fire Protection. The purpose of the prescriptive analysis was to determine if the Bonderson Engineering Projects Center adhered to the codes and standards applicable to the building. The prescriptive analysis was performed using primarily the 2013 edition of the California Building Code (CBC) along with the 2013 editions of NFPA codes. The egress analysis and design met most of the code requirements. One area that the Bonderson Engineering Projects Center did not meet was door swing direction. Room 104 (See Appendix A for building layout) was originally an office classification, but since construction has been utilized as an assembly space. The decreased occupant load factor resulted in a new occupant load which is greater than 50 persons. Per CBC 1008.1.2 exit doors must swing in the direction of egress travel where serving a room or area containing an occupant load of 50 or more persons, which the building does not adhere to. The fire detection and alarm systems analysis was performed primarily utilizing NFPA 72. The building had multiple shortcomings in regards to spacing gaps of the detection devices. These shortcomings were found on the first and second floor, including the lobby, robotics room, project integration room and computer cluster room. The water-based fire suppression system analysis was performed primarily utilizing NFPA 13 and NFPA 25. The water supply and sprinkler system are acceptable. The structural fire protection analysis was performed primarily utilizing the CBC. The main shortcoming discovered was in relation to the atrium. The building must have a 1 hour fire barrier separating atrium spaces from adjacent spaces or it must provide an acceptable smoke control system. The building provides neither of these provisions. The performance based analysis was performed in order to ascertain the ability for the occupant of a building to evacuate safely in the event of a fire. Two separate fire scenarios were evaluated using Fire Dynamics Simulator (FDS) and Pathfinder. Tenability criteria was determined and used in conjunction with FDS in order to determine the available safe egress time (ASET). This was compared against the required safe egress time (RSET) which was determined using Pathfinder. The RSET time was greater than the ASET time, meaning occupants would not be able to safely evacuate the building in the event of an emergency.