• RAN FPE

High-Rise and Assembly Buildings: What makes them unique in fire protection?




People spend a lot of time where they gather and work, such as in assembly and high-rise buildings. The definition of a high-rise building is a multistory building that is tall enough to require the use of a system of mechanical vertical transportation, such as an elevator. As for an assembly building, the definition is a building used for gatherings of people for the purpose of entertainment, worship, eating or drinking, education, and awaiting transportation. But what makes these types of buildings unique?


With many occupants, comes the need for occupant safety. Fire protection engineering is one of the solutions to this need. Sprinkler and fire alarm systems are crucial when increasing safety, as well as preventing loss. The fire alarm is the first to activate, which releases a loud sound the buildings in order to notify occupants of a fire. This provides them with time to get out of the building and to get to safety. Following the fire alarm, the sprinklers nearest to the fire will activate due to the heat. They will suppress the fire until the firefighters arrive and extinguish the fire.


The stairwells in high-rises and some assembly buildings allows occupants to move through multiple floors throughout the building. These stairwells also require fire protection features. Stairwell pressurization systems are fire protection systems that prevents smoke from leaking passed closed doors into stairs by injecting clean air into the stairwell. This causes the pressure in the stairs to be greater than the adjacent fire compartment. In the end, the system helps people escape fires, as well as firefighters battle the fire.

RAN provides more than just the design of sprinkler and fire alarm systems. RAN has provided code consulting services which include evaluations, planning structure, and code analysis. This is important in verifying that the systems are up to code and meet all the requirements to increase occupant safety.


High-rise buildings have a few different fire protection requirements than other buildings. For high-rises, a large variety of fire protection equipment is required. The equipment consists of fire extinguishers, hose reels, underground static water storage tank, terrace tank, fire walls, and so on. Also, many new high-rises require a fire control room on the entrance floor of the building. The room contains communication systems, detailed floor plans, and fire-fighting equipment. As for assembly buildings, smaller buildings do not contain many differences from other buildings, but sizing can change the requirements. Larger assembly buildings could require fire protection equipment such as fire blankets, extinguishers, and hose reels, where smaller assembly buildings may not. Ultimately, RAN’s main goals are to provide our services to protect the occupants and provide effective solutions for building owners and clients.


High-Rise Project Example

JFK Federal Office Building Fire Alarm Replacement

Boston, MA

Client: US General Services Administration

The John F. Kennedy Building consists of twin 26 story high-rise buildings. The original construction on the buildings was completed in 1966. RAN Fire Protection Engineering was retained to design modifications to the building’s fire alarm system.


The scope of services provided by RAN included design of new detection devises and notification appliances throughout the entire building. Existing fire controls and programming were modified to activate and monitor the new equipment.


Notification appliance powered by booster panels were installed on each floor next to an existing fire alarm riser cabinet and each booster panel includes an addressable monitor module. The previous conventional smoke detectors and pull stations were replaced with addressable smoke detectors and pull stations.


RAN engineers developed a design that allowed for a phasing construction that would meet NFPA standards and codes at all times. This was required because the building was fully occupied with many different agencies.


Assembly Project Example


Hart Theatre

Albany, NY

Client: NYS Office of General Services


The EGG is a performing arts venue that has become one of New York’s Capital District icons due to its unusual shape and central location in the Empire State Plaza. RAN Fire Protection Engineering was retained to evaluate the existing proscenium fire curtain of the stage at Hart Theatre, the existing escalator fire shutter, and the associated fly cable system. RAN provided recommendations and code compliance design options to increase the performance levels of the existing systems.





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