Fire Safety for Very Tall Buildings

Very tall buildings have distinctive hearth safety design points that are not skilled in other types of buildings. For example, as a end result of the height of the construction is past the attain of ladders, tall buildings are outfitted with more fireplace security features as it isn’t attainable for the hearth department to provoke exterior rescues from ladders and suppress fires with outside hose streams.
In regards to fire security, the efficiency history of very tall buildings while very profitable, has not been without catastrophic incidents. Many of those incidents have resulted in 1) numerous deaths and accidents, 2) excessive property loss and 3) disruptions in business continuity. For example, the One Meridian Plaza high-rise fire in Philadelphia that occurred in 1991 resulted within the loss of three firefighters and constructing by no means being re-opened. In 1988, the fireplace in the Interstate Bank Building in Los Angeles skilled one fatality and resulted in the building being out of use for six months.
Based on research and lessons discovered, the mannequin building codes have made important progress in addressing fireplace issues of safety in very tall buildings. At the same time, the complexity and distinctive challenges of today’s very tall buildings have created an surroundings the place comprehensive performance-based options have turn out to be a necessity.
To help the design group with creating performance-based hearth security solutions for very tall buildings, in 2013, the Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE) partnered with the International Code Council (ICC) to develop the Engineering Guide: Fire Safety in Very Tall Buildings.1 This publication is written as a guide for use at the facet of native codes and requirements and serves as an added device to these concerned in the hearth protection design of unique tall buildings. The information focuses on design issues that affect the hearth safety performance of tall buildings and the way engineers can incorporate performance-based fire protection via hazard and risk evaluation methodologies into the design of tall buildings. This article will focus on some of the distinctive fire security design strategies/methodologies employed within the design of tall buildings which would possibly be referenced within the ICC/SFPE Guide.
Emergency Egress

Developing an effective evacuation technique for a tall constructing is difficult because the time to complete a full constructing evacuation increases with building peak. At the identical time, above sure heights, the traditional methodology of requiring all occupants to simultaneous evacuate may not be practical as occupants turn out to be extra vulnerable to additional risks when evacuating via stairways. That is why tall buildings typically employ non-traditional or different evacuation methods.
When designing an egress plan for a tall constructing, the first aim should be to provide an applicable means to permit occupants to move to a spot of safety. To accomplish this objective, there are several evacuation methodologies which would possibly be obtainable to the design team. These evacuation strategies can embody but usually are not limited to 1) defend-in-place, 2) shifting individuals to areas of refuge and 3) phased/progressive evacuation. It is also possible that a mixture of those methods could be this greatest resolution. When deciding on an appropriate strategy, the design group should contemplate the required level of security for the building occupants and the building efficiency goals which are identified by the building’s stakeholders.
Using protected elevators has become another evacuation strategy that is turning into extra prevalent in the design of tall buildings. In addition to assisting the hearth division with operations and rescues, protected elevators are now being used for constructing evacuation, notably for occupants with disabilities. When considering elevators in an evacuation technique, there are a selection of design considerations to consider: 1) security and reliability of the elevators, 2) coordination of elevator controls and constructing safety methods, 3) education of building occupants and first responders and 4) communication to building occupants in the course of the emergency.
Tall buildings usually employ non-traditional or different evacuation strategies.
Fire Resistance

The penalties of partial or international collapse of tall buildings because of a extreme fireplace pose a major threat to numerous individuals, the fireplace service and surrounding buildings. At the identical time, tall buildings often have distinctive design options whose role within the structure and hearth response usually are not simply understood using traditional fire protection strategies. These distinctive elements may warrant a have to undertake a complicated structural fire engineering analysis to reveal that the building’s performance goals are met.
Performance-based design of structural fire resistance entails three steps: (1) determination of the thermal boundary conditions to a structure ensuing from a hearth; (2) calculation of the thermal response of the construction to the fireplace exposure, and (3) willpower of the structural response of the construction. Guidance on performing this kind of evaluation could be discovered within the SFPE Engineering Standard on Calculating Fire Exposures to Structures2, and SFPE Engineering Standard on Calculation Methods to Predict the Thermal Performance of Structural and Fire Resistive Assemblies.3

Water-Based Fire Suppression Systems

In tall buildings, the water provide required for hearth protection systems can be greater than the potential of the general public water provide. As such, fire protection system water provides for sprinkler systems and standpipes require the use of pumps and/or gravity water tanks to spice up the water pressure. Reliability of this water provide is a key consideration. As such, redundant fire pumps, gravity-based storage provides, or each could also be wanted to boost system reliability.
Another issue to contemplate when designing water-based fire suppression methods is stress control as it’s possible for system components to be exposed to pressures that exceed its maximum working strain. Consequently, it might be necessary to design vertical strain zones to control pressures within the zone. Additionally, stress regulating valves are often wanted. When installed, care must be taken to guarantee that these pressure regulating valves are installed correctly and adequately maintained.
ไดอะแฟรม ซีล and Communication Systems

Providing constructing occupants with accurate data throughout emergencies increases their capacity to make appropriate choices about their very own security. Fire alarm and communication techniques are an necessary source of this data. Very tall buildings make use of voice communication systems that are built-in into the fire alarm system. When designing voice communication techniques you will want to be certain that the system supplies reliable and credible data.
Fire alarm system survivability is another import issue to consider in fireplace alarm system design. For tall buildings, consideration ought to be given in order that an attack by a hearth in an evacuation zone doesn’t impair the voice messaging outside the zone. Some of the design concerns to attain survivability could include: 1) safety of control equipment from fireplace, 2) safety of circuits. 3) configuration of circuits and 4) shielding of panels.
Tall buildings typically employ smoke management methods that either vent, exhaust or limit the spread of smoke.
Smoke Control

Controlling the spread of smoke is more complicated in tall buildings. For example, tall buildings experience a phenomenon known as stack effect. Stack impact occurs when a tall constructing experiences a strain distinction all through its peak as a result of temperature differentials between the surface air temperature and the within constructing temperature. This causes air to maneuver vertically, relying on the surface air temperature – either upward or downward in a constructing. It also can cause smoke from a building hearth to unfold all through the building if not managed. That is why tall buildings often employ smoke management methods that both vent, exhaust or limit the spread of smoke.
Other considerations in tall buildings included the air movement created by the piston impact of elevators and the consequences of wind. Air movement attributable to elevator automobiles ascending and descending in a shaft and the consequences of wind may end up in smoke movement in tall buildings. These impacts become more pronounced as the peak of the constructing improve.
Because very tall buildings complicate smoke unfold, efficient smoke management is more difficult to realize. The possible solutions are quite a few and embody a mixture of lively and passive options corresponding to but not limited to: 1) smoke barrier walls and flooring, 2) stairway pressurization techniques, 3) pressurized zoned smoke control offered by the air-handling gear, and 4) smoke dampers. The solution implemented into the design wants to address the building itself, its uses, relevant occupant characteristics and reliability.
First Service Issues

It goes with out saying that tall buildings present distinctive challenges to the fire service. During the planning and design phases, it’s important for the design team to work with the fireplace service to debate the sort of sources which are wanted for an incident and the actions that will be wanted to mitigate an incident. This includes growing construction and post-construction preplans. These preplans should embody and not be restricted to making provisions for 1) hearth service entry including transport to the highest level of the constructing, 2) establishing a water provide, 3) standpipe techniques (temporary and permanent), 4) communication techniques, and 5) understanding the operations of the hearth protection systems in the building.
One of the challenges the fireplace service faces during incidents in tall buildings is the flexibility of firefighters to move equipment to the incident location. Designers ought to keep in mind how the hearth service can transport its tools from the response level to the best degree in a secure method.
Additionally, care needs to be taken when designing the fireplace command center as it’s going to present the hearth service command staff with essential details about the incident. The fire command center must be accessible and will embody 1) controls for building techniques, 2) contact info for constructing administration, 3) present buildings plans, 4) emergency response and egress plans and 5) preplans.
1 International Code Council/SFPE. (2013). Engineering Guide: Fire Safety for Very Tall Buildings. Country Club Hills, IL.
2 SFPE. (2011). SFPE Standard S.01 2011, Engineering Standards on Calculating Fire Exposures to Structures. Gaithersburg, Maryland.
3 SFPE. 2015). SFPE Standard S.02 2015, SFPE Engineering Standard on Calculation Methods to Predict the Thermal Performance of Structural and Fire Resistive Assemblies. Gaithersburg, Maryland.

Scroll to Top