MS in Fire Protection Engineering
College of Engineering
Frederick Mowrer and Christopher Pascual
A detailed study of the fire and life safety systems in the General Purpose Laboratory at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory was performed. The prescriptive and performance-based methods for fire and life safety requirements were analyzed in accordance with the applicable codes. The prescriptive items examined included the egress capacities, fire suppression systems, fire detection and notification systems, and structural construction requirements. The performance-based models utilized studied fire growth and its impact on the fire suppression systems as well as time to egress for the occupants. The General Purpose Laboratory was found to be compliant with the prescriptive requirements in having more than adequate egress capacities, sound fire suppression and detection systems, and correct building construction. The performance-based models validate the prescriptive requirements by showing that a worst-case fire model scenario in a laboratory will still maintain tenable conditions after 15 minutes. Additionally, the egress model showed that all 614 occupants were able to exit the building after 14 minutes, including pre-movement time, even with one egress blocked. The results of this study are significant because it proves the building can permit safe occupancy. This allows the scientists of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to perform their work and innovate scientific breakthroughs, without concern for their safety.