MS in Fire Protection Engineering
College of Engineering
Frederick Mowrer and Christopher Pascual
This project is an academic exercise, as part of the MS Fire Protection Engineering program of California Polytechnic State University. The project is a culminating report with regards to life safety analysis of the Christopher Cohan Center of Cal Poly, which builds on the fundamental and applied courses of the program. The analysis is twofold, where the first part is a Prescriptive Analysis of the building and its features, followed by a Performance Based Life Safety Analysis. Both parts are performed in accordance with NFPA 101 Life Safety Code 2015 edition, Codes/Standards references within NFPA 101, and supplemented by methods of the SFPE Handbook of Fire Protection Engineering. California have yet to adopt the Life Safety Code, which per definition, makes it impossible to determine if the building is a new or existing structure. Nevertheless, the building has been analyzed as an existing building. Where noted, necessary assumptions were made to complete the analysis. The building in question is part of the Performing Arts Center of Cal Poly, and consists of assembly-, business-, and storage occupancies. Two adjacent buildings make up the remaining parts of the Performing Arts Center, but these buildings will not be analyzed in this report. The Cohan Center is separated from adjacent buildings by 4-hour rated walls, and/or separation distances of 60 ft.
The prescriptive analysis concludes that the building in general meets the requirements of the applicable codes and standards, with the following exceptions: a place of assembly at the Balcony Level have no other means of egress than through the communicating space, the spacing of smoke detectors does not meet prescriptive requirements in the Entry Lobby, and the water supply for the sprinkler system is insufficient. All conclusions are based on the information available. The recommended actions are to perform a new water flow test, and based on the result, consider installing a fire pump to provide sufficient flow and pressure to the most remote area of the sprinkler system. The performance based analysis addressed life safety in the event of fire in scenery on stage. The fire was modeled at floor level, and in the fly-gallery. Based on building inspections, the author considers ignition more likely in the fly-gallery, than at the stage floor. The main focus of this model was to evaluate consequences of smoke spread, if the proscenium wall curtain fails to deploy. The analysis concluded that the fly-gallery fire meets the performance criteria, and results in an acceptable level of life safety. The scenery fire at the stage floor fails to meet the performance criteria of the Life Safety Code, with the current building design and feature. Further analysis concludes that installing addressable smoke detectors at the stage ceiling, that activates all smoke vents and sends an alarm signal to the fire alarm control panel, resulted in meeting the performance criteria regardless of the modeled fire location.