Fire, Life Safety

Fire, life safety in data centers

Forty-four percent of engineers who responded to the 2016 Fire & Life Safety Study make product selections for data centers.
By Amanda Pelliccione January 16, 2018
Local authorities having jurisdiction (AHJs) or local fire officials have the most impact on data center fire and life safety design, followed by owners, architects, and electrical engineers. Source: Consulting-Specifying Engineer

The Consulting-Specifying Engineer 2016 Fire & Life Safety Study indicated that 44% of engineers specify, design, or make product selections for data centers—and the majority of these engineers are responsible for determining requirements/writing specifications for these projects. Below are five fire and life safety findings as they relate to data center projects:

  1. Systems specified: The top three fire and life safety systems being specified into data centers are fire, smoke, heat, and linear detection systems (88%); smoke detection, control systems, dampers, etc. (83%); and network and intelligent fire alarm control panels (68%).
  2. Specified systems value: The average firm earns $2.64 million annually from fire and life safety systems specified into new and existing data centers, with 30% bringing in more than $3 million each year from these projects.
  3. Specifications: Engineers are most frequently issuing performance fire and life safety systems specifications (83%) for data centers, followed by prescriptive specifications (66%).
  4. Challenges: When working on fire and life safety systems for data centers, engineers are having the most difficulty with code authorities’ subjective interpretation of regulations (75%), insufficient funding for quality design (66%), and designing for interoperability and integration of systems (64%).
  5. Comparing products: Overall product quality is most important (73%) when selecting a fire and life safety systems for a data center; engineers also look at service support offerings (52%) and manufacturers’ reputations (50%).

View additional research from Consulting-Specifying Engineer:

Amanda Pelliccione
Author Bio: Amanda is the Research Director and Project Manager of Awards Programs for CFE Media and its publications.