Fire and life safety in data centers

The Consulting-Specifying Engineer 2015 Fire and Life Safety Study indicated that 46% of engineers specify, design, or make product selections for data centers.


Results of the Fire and Life Safety research study. Courtesy: Consulting-Specifying EngineerThe Consulting-Specifying Engineer 2015 Fire and Life Safety Study indicated that 46% of engineers specify, design, or make product selections for data centers. Below are six high-level findings impacting the fire and life safety industry today as they relate to data center projects:

  1. Products specified: Eight in 10 engineers specify fire, smoke, heat, and linear detection systems for data centers. Other top products include smoke detection, controls systems, and dampers (77%); network and intelligent fire alarm control panels (63%); and chemical and clean agent fire-suppression systems (60%).

  2. Annual specified products value: The average firm specifies $3,066,667 in total fire and life safety products for new and existing data centers on a yearly basis. Twenty-four percent of these firms specify more than $5 million in fire and life safety products.

  3. Future critical challenges: The top critical challenges or issues affecting the future of fire and life safety systems in data centers, according to respondents, are subjective interpretation of regulations by code authorities (79%), code enforcement not understanding new systems (71%), and inadequate budget for good design (70%).

  4. Discipline input: Local authorities having jurisdiction or fire officials have the most input/impact (69%) on engineers' fire and life safety design for data centers, followed by owners (43%) and electrical engineers (32%).

  5. Vendor involvement: Six in 10 engineers cited that equipment vendors are occasionally involved in helping them complete their data center specifications, compared with 27% frequently, 6% always, and 4% never.

  6. Important design factors: Sixty-eight percent of engineers consider product quality to be an extremely important factor that leads to their selection of fire and life safety systems for data centers. Other important factors include service support (54%), manufacturer's reputation (47%), and a manufacturer's complete product series or system capabilities (44%).

View more information at Amanda Pelliccione is research director at CFE Media.  

More research

Consulting-Specifying Engineer surveys its audience on several topics each year. All reports are available at

No comments
Consulting-Specifying Engineer's Product of the Year (POY) contest is the premier award for new products in the HVAC, fire, electrical, and...
Consulting-Specifying Engineer magazine is dedicated to encouraging and recognizing the most talented young individuals...
The MEP Giants program lists the top mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection engineering firms in the United States.
BIM coordination; MEP projects; NFPA 13; Data center Q&A; Networked lighting controls; 2017 Product of the Year finalists
Emergency lighting; NFPA 3 and 4; Integrated building systems; Smart lighting, HVAC design
Designing for energy efficiency; Understanding and applying NFPA 101 for mission critical facilities; Integrating commissioning and testing for fire alarm systems; Optimizing unitary pumping solutions
Tying a microgrid to the smart grid; Paralleling generator systems; Previewing NEC 2017 changes
Driving motor efficiency; Preventing Arc Flash in mission critical facilities; Integrating alternative power and existing electrical systems
Putting COPS into context; Designing medium-voltage electrical systems; Planning and designing resilient, efficient data centers; The nine steps of designing generator fuel systems
As brand protection manager for Eaton’s Electrical Sector, Tom Grace oversees counterfeit awareness...
Amara Rozgus is chief editor and content manager of Consulting-Specifier Engineer magazine.
IEEE power industry experts bring their combined experience in the electrical power industry...
Michael Heinsdorf, P.E., LEED AP, CDT is an Engineering Specification Writer at ARCOM MasterSpec.
Automation Engineer; Wood Group
System Integrator; Cross Integrated Systems Group
Fire & Life Safety Engineer; Technip USA Inc.
click me