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FIRE AND LIFE SAFETY PLANS & STRATEGY

The Fire and Life Safety Strategy aims to set out the fire engineering principles to be employed and developed to achieve compliance with the functional requirements of the Building Regulations relevant to the development.

We offer a full range of building and fire code consulting services designed to fit the needs of developers, owners, and architects. XELUXE not only covers all applicable codes and design features; we also meet the challenges of aesthetics, functionality, and cost efficiency.

Traditional code compliance sets the prescriptive criteria for a baseline level of safety which, for many clients, is a perfect fit for their fire protection needs. Through equivalencies, alternate methods, or performance-based analyses and designs, we are able to meet the essential needs of the client and code compliance.

COMMON CODE ISSUES AND RESOLUTIONS

The codes address a wide range of building and fire safety issues that are commonly misinterpreted or misapplied. XELUXE can clarify the code requirements and assist with incorporating the requirements into specific design applications

  • Use and occupancy classification
  • Mixed and separated use occupancy conditions
  • Construction type and materials
  • Exterior fire exposure
  • Fire / smoke separations
  • Protection of atria and vertical openings
  • Fire protection system requirements
  • Means of egress requirements
  • Fire department access

Occupancy Classification

Classifying a building simply as multiple occupancy is an incomplete classification, as the options for occupancy classification are limited to assembly, educational, day-care, health care, ambulatory health care, residential, residential board and care, mercantile, business, industrial, and storage. Rather, a classification of multiple occupancy needs to include mention of the occupancy types involved.

Once a building is classified as multiple occupancy and the occupancy types present are identified, the building code offers the option of protecting multiple occupancies via the mixed

occupancy requirements or via the separated occupancy requirements.

The means of egress facilities, type of construction, protection, and other safeguards in the building shall comply with the most restrictive fire and life safety requirements of the occupancies involved for multiple occupancies where the occupancies are intermingled.

It is extremely important that the correct occupancy classification be made, as the Code requirements differ for each type of occupancy. Improper classification might result in an inadequate level of life safety or overspending on non-required items.

Occupancy Load

Calculation of the ‘Occupant Load’ is necessary to ensure the provision of adequate exit capacity for each floor and part of a proposed development or refurbishment. The calculation need be performed by utilizing the ‘occupant load factors’ specified therein for the different occupancy classifications.

Means of Egress

XELUXE reviews and assists in the design of means of egress for all types of facilities. Egress design can be based on code-specified prescriptive requirements, such as the number, capacity, and location of exits. Design can also be based on performance measures, such as required safe egress time, calculated exiting rates and times, and assessment of potential hazard conditions.

Preparation of Fire and Life Safety Plans

To document the egress design, XELUXE prepares fire and safety Plans for the project. The plans illustrate the relevant egress and life safety features, including a summary of applicable code criteria, exit locations, occupant load calculations, egress capacities, travel distances, dead-ends, and exit discharge routes. If     performance-based methods are used, the plans will also include the relevant design criteria. Fire Safety Plans aid the client and code official by clearly documenting the egress design.

 

 

 

Type of Construction

We define types of building construction based on the combustibility and the fire resistance rating of a building’s structural elements.  We assist to identify the appropriate requirements pertaining to construction assemblies and structural fire resistance ratings. Structural elements include exterior bearing walls; interior bearing walls; columns; beams, girders, trusses, and arches; floor-ceiling assemblies; and roof-ceiling assemblies.

Fire Compartmentation

Compartment walls and floors are specifically intended to ensure that fire is contained in the compartment of origin, and is not allowed to spread horizontally or vertically through a building. The objectives are:

  • To prevent rapid spread of fire and products of combustion which may endanger occupants.
  • To prevent a small fire growing to threaten occupants, people in the vicinity of the building, and fire fighters who may have to enter a building to extinguish the fire. The compartmented structure provides demarcated lines of safety for fire-fighters and occupants.

Fire Department Access

The faster the fire service can respond, enter, locate the incident, and safely operate in a building, the sooner they can mitigate an incident in a safe manner for themselves as well as occupants.

Minimum building access for fire apparatus is a function of the access road reaching to within a certain distance of all portions of the building’s first floor exterior walls. This limit in NFPA 1 and the IFC is 150 feet for buildings without a complete sprinkler system. For fully sprinklered buildings, NFPA 1 permits this distance to be increased to 450 feet; the IFC leaves this decision up to the discretion of the code official. Further, NFPA 1 requires that the road extend to within 50 feet of an exterior door providing interior access.

Design Flexibility & Equivalency

XELUXE staff has been instrumental in the development of the computational fire models, modeling techniques, and performance-based fire safety design approaches that are critical to developing and assessing alternative design strategies.

XELUXE will assist in obtaining agreement of local authorities for proposed fire and life safety design approaches, with the goal of meeting the intent of the applicable codes while preserving the character of the project design.