Fire, Life Safety

Office buildings focus on air quality, energy efficiency, fire/life safety

Designing office buildings in a post-COVID world is a challenging task with engineering variables, including fire and life safety systems

By Consulting-Specifying Engineer February 11, 2021
sonrai IAQ by DLR Group is an air quality building analytic platform delivering actionable intelligence to facility managers. Transparent real-time air quality data in user-friendly dashboard display communicates the importance of health and wellbeing to all building occupants. Courtesy: DLR Group

Respondents:

  • Elena Bollas, PE, Mechanical Engineer, Page, Austin, Texas
  • Timothy J. Hedrick, PE, Principal/Electrical Engineer, RTM Engineering Consultants, Schaumburg, Ill.
  • Dan Luzius, LEED AP, Principal, DLR Group, Seattle
  • Jon Silhol, PE, LEED AP BD+C, Mechanical Engineer, SmithGroup, Phoenix
Elena Bollas, PE, Mechanical Engineer, Page, Austin, Texas; Timothy J. Hedrick, PE, Principal/Electrical Engineer, RTM Engineering Consultants, Schaumburg, Ill.; Dan Luzius, LEED AP, Principal, DLR Group, Seattle; Jon Silhol, PE, LEED AP BD+C, Mechanical Engineer, SmithGroup, Phoenix. Courtesy: Page, RTM Engineering Consultants; DLR Group; SmithGroup

Elena Bollas, PE, Mechanical Engineer, Page, Austin, Texas; Timothy J. Hedrick, PE, Principal/Electrical Engineer, RTM Engineering Consultants, Schaumburg, Ill.; Dan Luzius, LEED AP, Principal, DLR Group, Seattle; Jon Silhol, PE, LEED AP BD+C, Mechanical Engineer, SmithGroup, Phoenix. Courtesy: Page, RTM Engineering Consultants; DLR Group; SmithGroup


What are some of the unique challenges regarding fire/life safety system design that you’ve encountered for such projects? How have you overcome these challenges?

Timothy J. Hedrick: A majority of challenges that I’ve encountered when it comes to fire/life safety system design is when renovating an existing building. It’s very common to renovate an existing older building that does not have any existing fire alarm or fire suppression systems installed. Each state and jurisdiction can be different when it comes to what is required and what needs to be updated during a renovation project. Most of the time the client/owner that agreed to renovate this space didn’t anticipate having to provide either or in some cases both of these life safety systems as part of their budget. Overcoming these challenges starts with understanding what is required by the local jurisdiction and fire marshal. Then working with the architect and owner to implement these systems into the scope of work and budget of the project.

When Page engineers are designing systems for more than 50 individual office spaces needed for Firmspace to provide professionals quiet and comfortable spaces, the team has a variety of go-to solutions including variable air volume boxes. Courtesy: Raul J. Garcia/Page

When Page engineers are designing systems for more than 50 individual office spaces needed for Firmspace to provide professionals quiet and comfortable spaces, the team has a variety of go-to solutions including variable air volume boxes. Courtesy: Raul J. Garcia/Page


Consulting-Specifying Engineer