Send in the engineering troops: Fire, life safety

Military facilities present an army of challenges—exacting codes and regulations, stepped-up security issues, and budgetary concerns. Fire protection and life safety systems are of utmost importance.

07/24/2013


Kevin D. Bomboy, PE, LEED AP, Chief mechanical engineer, STV Group, Douglassville, Pa. Courtesy: STV GroupDavid Callan, PE, CEM, LEED AP, HBDP, Vice president, McGuire Engineers Inc., Chicago. Courtesy: McGuire EngineersRobert L. Crance, Mechanical engineer, Black and Veatch, Overland Park, Kansas. Courtesy: Black and VeatchJoseph H. Talbert, PE, ARM, Project manager, Aon Fire Protection Engineering, Lincolnshire, Ill. Courtesy: Aon Fire Protection EngineeringWilliam Valdez, Northwest justice and civic sector leader/principal, DLR Group, Seattle. Courtesy: DLR Group

Participants:

  • Kevin D. Bomboy, PE, LEED AP, Chief mechanical engineer, STV Group, Douglassville, Pa.
  • David Callan, PE, CEM, LEED AP, HBDP, Vice president, McGuire Engineers Inc., Chicago
  • Robert L. Crance, Mechanical engineer, Black & Veatch, Overland Park, Kansas
  • Joseph H. Talbert, PE, ARM, Project manager, Aon Fire Protection Engineering, Lincolnshire, Ill.
  • William Valdez, Northwest justice and civic sector leader/principal, DLR Group, Seattle

CSE: What trends, systems, or products have affected changes in life safety systems in military facilities? Please include mass notification systems (MNS), emergency communication systems (ECS), etc.

Talbert: The changes prompted by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) are having an enormous impact on building design and retrofits. The introduction of visible notification appliances to provide fire alarm notification for occupants of buildings has required complete replacement of fire alarm systems whenever a major renovation is performed.

Bomboy: The combination of mass notification, fire alarm, and paging into an integrated system that meets the applicable UFCs and other standards has simplified the design and lessened the cost impact of these systems.

CSE: What fire/life safety lessons have you learned on past military facility projects?

Bomboy: For areas that will be served by a chemical suppression system, tight construction is critical to make sure that minimum required contact time for the chemical suppressant is achieved.

Talbert: The DOD is perhaps the strongest proponent of good fire protection practices of any segment of society. The commitment of the military to improving fire protection in military facilities will result in significant improvement in life safety over the long term. 

CSE: How can heightened security concerns at a military facility affect your work on such a project?

Talbert: Heightened security concerns have an impact on planning. In order to ensure that a project runs smoothly, coordination between the contractor and the site personnel to ensure that all engineers and contractors have the appropriate security clearance is critical.

Bomboy: The design of both fire protection and fire alarm systems must address the requirements for information security. The systems must be designed so that emergency management/radio frequency emanations are addressed and the fire alarm wiring is properly protected.

CSE: What are some important factors to consider when designing a fire and life safety system in a military facility? What things often get overlooked?

Bomboy: The UFCs require a high level of audibility for mass notification systems. Speaker placement must address acoustic performance of spaces. In some cases, intelligibility calculations must be performed using dedicated computer software to assist with the design of the system.

Talbert: It is important to establish the goals that the team wishes to achieve prior to beginning the design effort. Most problems that arise are because the participants were not in full agreement about the scope of work or the results that are expected. If the design team is not careful, preliminary and final testing, which are generally required by the UFC, can be overlooked until the client withholds payment because the testing has not been completed.



The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
Doubling down on digital manufacturing; Data driving predictive maintenance; Electric motors and generators; Rewarding operational improvement
2017 Lubrication Guide; Software tools; Microgrids and energy strategies; Use robots effectively
Prescriptive maintenance; Hannover Messe 2017 recap; Reduce welding errors
The cloud, mobility, and remote operations; SCADA and contextual mobility; Custom UPS empowering a secure pipeline
Infrastructure for natural gas expansion; Artificial lift methods; Disruptive technology and fugitive gas emissions
Mobility as the means to offshore innovation; Preventing another Deepwater Horizon; ROVs as subsea robots; SCADA and the radio spectrum
Research team developing Tesla coil designs; Implementing wireless process sensing
Commissioning electrical systems; Designing emergency and standby generator systems; Paralleling switchgear generator systems
Natural gas engines; New applications for fuel cells; Large engines become more efficient; Extending boiler life

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
The maintenance journey has been a long, slow trek for most manufacturers and has gone from preventive maintenance to predictive maintenance.
Featured articles highlight technologies that enable the Industrial Internet of Things, IIoT-related products and strategies to get data more easily to the user.
This digital report will explore several aspects of how IIoT will transform manufacturing in the coming years.
Maintenance Manager; California Oils Corp.
Associate, Electrical Engineering; Wood Harbinger
Control Systems Engineer; Robert Bosch Corp.
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
click me