MS in Fire Protection Engineering
College of Engineering
Frederick Mowrer and Christopher Pascual
A fire protection analysis utilizing prescriptive and performance based design was performed for the existing building (DCIB) located in Minnesota. A new tenant is investigating converting the DCIB from a building used for data center, to an office building which will utilize an open office concept.
A prescriptive analysis of the building was performed to determine the life safety, fire suppression, fire alarm and structural requirements to ensure compliance with current applicable codes and standards. The prescriptive requirements are outlined and reviewed in Section 1 through Section 5 of this analysis. Modifications to the DCIB are required to achieve the prescriptive requirements. Some of the modifications include additional doors for rooms throughout the building, and additional egress width for both doors and stairs for the second- through the fifth-floor. The modification to add additional stairway and doorway width will come at a substantial cost.
A performance-based analysis was performed and described in Section 6 for this building utilizing computer-based modeling software. A single fire scenario was modeled with two separate fire plume exhaust rates in the atrium to determine if the building occupants have adequate time to safely egress the building prior to untenable conditions. The performance based analysis showed tenability limits can be maintained throughout the atrium for a minimum duration of twenty (20) minutes. Additional design fires should be modeled to indicate the exhaust system can maintain the tenability limits of other potential fires in the atrium. Additionally, the model should be ran for one and a half (1.5) times the required safe egress time, or forty-seven (47) minutes to ensure all occupants can evacuate safely from the building.
As will be discussed in this analysis, the occupant load in the building will be roughly tripled with the proposed tenant modifications. The new occupant load causes issues for the existing egress components causing this building to fall out of compliance with the prescriptive codes. Additional door and stairway width is recommended for the buildings new tenant modifications.