Fire, life safety in educational facilities

Respondents to the Consulting-Specifying Engineer 2016 Fire and Life Safety Study identified 5 findings as they relate to K-12/college/university projects.
By Amanda Pelliccione December 15, 2016

Fifty-six percent of respondents to the Consulting-Specifying Engineer 2016 Fire and Life Safety Study specify, design, or make product selections for educational facilities-and 9 in 10 of these engineers are responsible for determining requirements/writing specifications for these projects. Below are 5 fire and life safety findings as they relate to K-12/college/university projects:Figure 2: When selecting fire and life safety products for educational facilities, the most important factors that engineers consider are product quality (98%), a manufacturer’s reputation (94%), and the availability of service support (89%). Courtesy: Co

  • Products specified: The most commonly specified systems for educational facilities include fire, smoke, heat, and linear detection (81%); smoke detection, control systems, dampers, etc. (77%); and network and intelligent fire alarm control panels (63%).
  • Annual specified systems value: On average, respondents’ firms specify $2.58 million annually in fire and life safety systems for educational facilities; 31% specify more than $3 million.
  • Specifications written: Performance (79%) and prescriptive specifications (64%) are most frequently written for educational facilities, followed by open specifications (proprietary, 50%).
  • Future of fire, life safety systems: The subjective interpretation of regulations by code authorities (74%) and an inadequate budget for good design (64%) are the top issues affecting the future of fire and life safety system design in educational facilities.
  • Disciplines impacting design: Local authorities having jurisdiction or local fire officials have the most impact on educational facility fire and life safety design, according to 76% of respondents. Owners and architects also have a generous say in these designs.


Figure 1: The two most critical issues affecting the future of electrical or power systems are budget/cost and the lack of a skilled workforce. Courtesy: Consulting-Specifying Engineer 2016 Electrical and Power Study8 in 10 lighting engineers currently specify LEDs; lighting controls; and/or T5, T8, or T12 (any size) fixtures. Courtesy: Consulting-Specifying Engineer 2015 Lighting and Lighting Controls Study

3/4 of mechanical engineers determine requirements/write specifications for HVAC systems, equipment, and controls. Courtesy: Consulting-Specifying Engineer 2015 HVAC and Building Automation Systems Study

65% of fire protection design engineers usually write prescriptive fire and life safety system specifications. Courtesy: Consulting-Specifying Engineer 2016 Fire and Life Safety Study

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View more information at www.csemag.com/2016FireLifeSafety. Amanda Pelliccione is the research director at CFE Media.