MS in Fire Protection Engineering
College of Engineering
Frederick Mowrer and Christopher Pascual
This report details the fire and life safety analysis of Shyh Wang Hall, a new building at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Wang Hall houses offices, high performance computers, and associated mechanical space. The building is constructed as a Type IIB structure and includes four stories. Both prescriptive-based and performance-based design is considered.
The prescriptive analysis considers the fire and life safety features as required by applicable codes, including the Department of Energy requirements. The building is protected by fire detection and alarm system as well as automatic sprinklers. The prescriptive design meets the code requirements with the possible exception of the Central Stair. This stairway is not part of the means of egress and presents an unprotected four story shaft.
The building was evaluated following a performance-based design analysis. A design fire, modeled using Fire Dynamics Simulator (FDS), was placed adjacent to one exit, rendering that exit unusable. The maximum RSET for the building is 663 seconds, based on the simulated evacuation time using Pathfinder along with the detection and pre-movement time. The ASET for floors not associated with the fire is sufficient. On the fire floor, the south section becomes untenable at approximately 237 seconds. Depending on the actions of the occupants, the performance criteria may not be met.
Recommendations include: upgrading the construction of the Central Stair to meet two- hour fire-resistant construction; addition of smoke detectors on the office levels; enhancing the existing inspection, testing, and maintenance program to include all code and standard requirements; additional training for staff and BET members regarding actions in a fire emergency; and reevaluation of use of TB 117 furniture.