MS in Fire Protection Engineering
College of Engineering
Frederick Mowrer and Christopher Pascual
This project report is an academic exercise, completed as part of the MS Fire Protection Engineering program at California Polytechnic State University. This project is a culminating report with regards to life safety analysis of the Woodward Willis Building located in Detroit Michigan, which utilizes the fundamental and applied courses of the fire protection engineering program.
The analysis is based on a prescriptive analysis of the building and its features, and also a performance analysis which entails the life safety aspect of the building. The analysis of the building is performed in accordance with NFPA 101 Life Safety Code 2015 Edition and its references as well as being supplemented by the SFPE Handbook 5th Edition. The building is analyzed as a new structure as it is currently under construction.
The Woodward Willis building is three stories and is comprised of a technical college, storefronts, and a parking garage. These areas reveal occupancy classifications of educational, mercantile, and storage to be considered in the analysis. The building is situated on the northwest corner at the intersection of Woodward Avenue and Willis Street with frontage on each road. The north frontage of the building faces a factory and is separated by an alley. This alley is greater than 10 feet wide, which allows a separation distance fire resistance rating of 0 hours along this side of the building. The east side of the building faces a McDonald's property and is also greater than 10 feet, allowing it to have required fire resistance rating on the exterior of the building as well.
The prescriptive analysis concludes that, in general the building is in compliance with the applicable codes and standards from a fire protection standpoint. These results are based on the information available at this time and are not taking into consideration any modifications to the construction process beyond this time. A final as built scenario shall include final testing and inspection of all the systems in a typical scenario in which the building will be used. At this point, the building shall have all fire protection systems fully commissioned by a certified fire protection contractor before occupancy.
The performance based analysis addressed the life safety of the building in the event of a fire. The building was inspected during a period when the rooms within were partially furnished during construction. In this state, it was determined that the most likely fire scenario would occur via an electrical failure on a makeshift cardboard desk in a classroom on the 3rd floor. The analysis revealed that the building meets the performance criteria of the Life Safety Code in the current stage of the building. In the analyzed fire scenario, the egress capabilities are proven to exceed the potential for occupants to be harmed by the fire. This scenario would need to be confirmed compatible under normal operating conditions to remain true. If the conditions of the building are changed or altered, the scenario would need to be readdressed and analyzed to meet the status of the building.