Did You Know? – BCER’s Life Safety Services

Life Safety:

The BCER Life Safety Group provides up to date fire protection and life safety solutions for any project; whether it is greenfield construction or a historic renovation, small or large, or complex and unique. BCER Life Safety utilizes an “engineered systems approach” in the development of these code consulting services.  Our involvement and solutions are intended to meet the creative needs of the Owner and Architect while meeting the spirit and intent of the building and fire codes along with the requirements of the local Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ). In the accomplishment of these solutions, our team will coordinate with the Owner, Architect, and AHJ to develop solutions and educate the design team throughout the design and construction process. Our expertise is notable in the negotiation of win/win engineered solutions while never compromising the integrity of the building fire protection systems or the life safety of the users.

Building and Fire Codes

  • General Consulting:
    • Building code services consist of occupancy classification; construction type; fire resistive separations; occupancy loads and egress analyses; and special occupancies such as atriums, high-rise buildings, and complex mixed-use occupancies. BCER can perform complete code reviews for any building and write Life Safety Reports for all projects.
    • Fire code services include fire department access, fire flow, hazardous materials, flammable and combustible liquids, fuel tank systems, hazard analysis, fire protection systems, fire alarm systems, mass notification systems, and smoke control systems. Additionally, our relationships with fire marshals and inspectors throughout the Rocky Mountain region assist in the plan review, inspection, and commissioning and testing phase of projects.
  • Administrative Modifications – With our knowledge of codes and standards combined with our practical experience, we are able to develop alternate approaches for unique conditions. These alternatives are known as Administrative Modifications. Such modifications develop an engineered solution to a complex problem while assisting the developer, owner, design team, and AHJ to meet the intent of the codes and maintain the life safety of the occupants.
  • Engineering Judgments – With the uniqueness and complexity of the built environment, conditions sometimes arise that require an alternate approach and reevaluation of fire resistive assemblies and construction techniques. With our understanding of codes, standards, and listed assemblies, we perform observations and document the conditions to justify any needed alternate approach. We are familiar with testing standards and agencies such as ASTM, UL, and FM. These evaluations and judgments are done on existing conditions as well as new construction.
  • Due Diligence Inspections – We can observe existing fire protection and life safety systems to assist with real estate transactions or deficiencies in existing buildings. We evaluate the systems for compliance with the applicable codes that the building was constructed under. The final documentation contains recommendations and cost estimates for upgrading or replacing these systems.
  • Third Party Plan Review and Inspection – BCER prepares third-party plan reviews for A/E design teams and local AHJs. We work alongside the entire design team and AHJ to review documents for compliance to the applicable codes. We can also inspect and conduct testing on behalf of AHJs for the special suppression systems, smoke control, and life safety portions of construction.
  • Expert Witness – With professional engineers on staff, we can serve as expert witnesses with testimony related to fire protection and life safety systems through code analyses, fire protection engineering services, field observations, and engineering judgments.
  • Egress Modeling – Large occupant load areas or buildings can be challenging to design, especially in regards to exiting. BCER offers egress modeling to help find a solution for these designs. We work with the architects to determine occupant loads and exiting strategies for complex situations.
  • Water Supply Analysis – BCER offers water supply analysis for existing and new construction. We can help with determining if the existing water supply is adequate for the fire sprinkler system or if a fire pump might be needed for the facility. We also have the tools needed to perform an on-site analysis for the client.
  • Hazardous Material Inventory Statement (HMIS) – The Fire Code requires buildings that have hazardous chemicals within the facility have an HMIS. BCER can assist with the inventory of the stored chemicals in addition to listing the storage containers and NFPA rating of each. The resulting report then goes to the AHJ for permit.
  • Hazardous Materials Management Plan (HMMP) – BCER develops HMMPs for clients for facility and emergency planning in the event of a fire or chemical release.

Fire Protection, Fire Alarm & Smoke Control

  • Performance Specifications – Performance specifications for systems such as fire sprinkler and fire alarm can be used to procure bids from qualified contractors. BCER has overseen these processes and can assist with the scope of the project from start to close out documents.
  • Engineered System Design – BCER has significant experience in the fire protection engineering design of sprinkler systems, standpipe systems, water mist systems, special extinguishment systems, fire alarm systems, mass notification systems, and smoke control systems with detailed drawings and specifications customized for each project.
  • Construction Administration – We can assist with the bidding process, review shop drawings, attend construction progress coordination meetings, perform site observations throughout the construction process and review close-out documentation.
  • Shop Drawing Reviews – BCER reviews shop drawings, calculations, and product data submittals for compliance with contract documents, applicable codes, standards, and AHJ requirements.
  • Testing and Commissioning – We provide commissioning, testing, and documentation of fire protection, fire alarm, and smoke control systems during construction on behalf of the Owner or local AHJ.
  • Rational Analysis Development or Review

Smoke Control – For smoke control systems, BCER assists the design team with the sizing of fans and shafts; the locations of dampers and sensors; and analyzing architectural design features to ensure pressures are compatible with code requirements. On-site testing of the systems ensures that the performance of each component meets the requirements of the IFC and local AHJ requirements.