Coastal Federal Credit Union HQ


Performed a CONTAM building airflow analysis to determine an appropriate stairwell pressurization system for the building.

The Approach

We completed a Smoke Control Rational Analysis (SCRA) for the Coastal Federal Credit Union Headquarters project in Raleigh, North Carolina.  This analysis specifically addressed the requirements regarding the stairwell pressurization systems which will be provided in accordance with Section 403.5.4 and 909 of the North Carolina Building Code.  Through utilizing CONTAM (a zone based computational model), in lieu of algebraic hand calculations, we were able to appropriately size the pressurization fans taking into account interaction with one another, the building’s geometry, and environmental conditions.

Hand calculations and rules of thumb are appropriate in obtaining rough order-of-magnitude capacities for these systems, however often times upon acceptance and commissioning of such systems balancing and obtaining appropriate pressure differentials on all floor levels is difficult to achieve.  A CONTAM approach evaluates these systems holistically, such as the inclusion of consideration to stack effect by analyzing the impact of extreme summer and winter temperatures, wind, and architectural features of the building.

One unique aspect of this project was the inclusion of an exit passageway provided for an interior discharging exit stairwell. Through this analysis, we identified that an additional supply capacity was required to be provided to this location, in order to provide and maintain pressure differentials across tenant spaces open into this passageway.

Benefit to the Design Team

The utilization of the CONTAM approach in developing the Smoke Control Rational Analysis resulted in an expected supply capacity range for all stairwells within the building, which will greatly assist in acceptance and commissioning of the system.

Project details

  • Year: 2020
  • Project: Coastal Federal Credit Union
  • Client: Crenshaw Consulting Engineers, Inc.
  • Benefit to the Team: Dialed in Smoke Control System
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