Fire, life safety in office buildings

The 2016 Fire and Life Safety Study provides details about fire, life safety in office buildings.

By Amanda Pelliccione, CFE Media May 25, 2017

Three-quarters of respondents to the Consulting-Specifying Engineer 2016 Fire and Life Safety Study specify, design, or make product selections for office buildings—and 84% of these engineers are responsible for determining requirements and/or writing specifications for these projects. Below are five fire and life safety findings as they relate to office building projects:

1. Annual specified systems value: On average, respondents’ firms specify $2.18 million annually in fire and life safety systems for office buildings; 25% specify more than $3 million.

2. Specifications written: Performance (81%) and prescriptive fire and life safety specifications (63%) are most frequently written for office buildings, followed by open specifications.

3. Future of fire, life safety systems: The subjective interpretation of regulations by code authorities (70%) and an inadequate budget for good design (66%) are the top issues affecting the future of fire and life safety system design in office buildings.

4. Disciplines impacting design: Local authorities having jurisdiction or local fire officials have the most impact on office building fire and life safety design, according to 74% of respondents. Owners, architects, and electrical engineers also have a generous say in these designs.

5. Product factors: When selecting fire and life safety products for office buildings, the most important factors that engineers consider are product quality (72%), a manufacturer’s reputation (44%), and the availability of service support (44%).

View more information at Amanda Pelliccione is the research director at CFE Media,

63%: The average percentage of an engineer’s time that is spent on billable hours when working on lighting and/or lighting controls projects. Source: Consulting-Specifying Engineer 2017 Lighting and Lighting Controls Study

27% of firms specified more than $5 million in HVAC and building automation/control products for new and existing buildings in 2015. Source: Consulting-Specifying Engineer 2015 HVAC and Building Automation Systems Study

2 in 5 engineers reported that facility owners have the most input and impact on fire and life safety design. Source: Consulting-Specifying Engineer 2016 Fire and Life Safety Study

More research
Consulting-Specifying Engineer covers several research topics regularly. All reports are available at