Plant Seven Adaptive Reuse


Provided fire and egress modeling to determine a smoke control system for an adaptive reuse of a historic building.

The Approach

Fire & egress modeling was utilized to determine the required exhaust capacity and makeup air serving a five-story atrium proposed to be included as part of an adaptive reuse project for a historic building.  This historic building used to be a furniture showroom and, before that, a hosiery mil.  In accordance with Section 909 of the NCBC, an atrium smoke control system capable of maintaining a tenable smoke layer 6 feet above the highest walkable area was required.  Performance Based Fire Protection Engineering, PLLC worked with the design team to strategically separate off upper floor levels from the atrium, which resulted in the smoke layer being able to descend further within the space.  In addition, air-aspirating smoke detection was utilized as a means for early detection of a fire event as well as early notification of occupants.  Algebraic hand calculations initially performed indicated an exhaust capacity in excess of 160,000 CFM.  The completed fire and egress modeling approach resulted in a final exhaust capacity of 80,000 CFM.  In addition, the modeling approach determined an appropriate natural makeup air scheme through utilizing doors on automatic openers.  Due to the relatively small footprint of the atrium, the effect that makeup air velocity had on fire scenarios was significant, and a wall balanced scheme was required to be determined.

Estimated Cost-Savings

A 50% decrease in mechanical exhaust demand resulted in a significant decrease in cost and required makeup air as well.  This had a significant impact on this project, as historical architectural features were desired to be maintained as much as possibleIt is estimated that this analysis resulted in over $100,000 of savings to the client.

Project details

  • Year: 2020
  • Project: Plant Seven Atrium
  • Client: Louis Cherry Architects
  • Estimated Savings: $100,000 +
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