Employee Focus
 
 

                                                                                                           

UHSSL Fire Safety

The final acceptance of the new construction at the UH Sugar Land Campus was an ongoing process that began in the conceptual stage of the facility and culminated with the issuance of a Certificate of Occupancy for the facility. Hundreds of man hours were spent in the process to provide as safe a facility as possible for the University students, faculty, and staff.

The fire and life safety review process began in the conceptual phase with a number of meetings with design team members to establish the codes that the building should be designed to meet. Once the code criteria were established plans and specifications were developed by the design team and forwarded to numerous entities throughout the University for review. This review process typically took a minimum of two to three full working days and comments with code references were returned to the design team for discussion and implementation. Typical comments concerned emergency access, egress design and protection, fire alarm product selection, fire protection system design, emergency lighting, emergency signage, and a host of other issues.

The next step in the fire and life safety review process focused on the detailed drawings of the fire and life safety systems. Detailed drawings were submitted to the Fire Marshal’s Office for approval concerning the fire alarm system, the building water-based fire protection system, and the specialty clean agent fire suppression system for the penthouse mechanical room. Comments were submitted and numerous meetings were held to discuss the design and the installation process.

Progress walkthrough inspections and meetings comprised the next step in the fire and life safety acceptance process. This was especially difficult for this project considering the distance from the Main Campus to the Sugar Land campus. As a result of these meetings the process was either allowed to continue or in some cases the process was temporarily halted while corrections or modifications could be made.

The fourth step in the fire and life safety acceptance process consisted of walkthrough inspections of the facility for life safety compliance and the inspection and testing of the fire alarm and fire suppression systems for compliance. The fire alarm testing and inspection is usually the most time consuming due coordinating all of the trades such as fire alarm, elevator installers, and fire suppression system installers, the physical inspection of devices for proper installation, and the testing of each device for function and device identifying address labels. In addition to the fire alarm and fire suppression systems the following life safety system and components of life safety had to be inspected and tested: emergency lighting system(s), the back-up emergency generator , fire zones , fire door assemblies and locks, fire damper locations and fire damper shutdown. This entire process took two Fire Marshal Team members several days to complete and resulted in a punch-list of items that needed correction or modification and re-testing.

The final step was the issuing of a Certificate of Occupancy once all of the corrections and modifications were completed, verified, and tested. The issuance of the CO verifies that the building fire and life safety systems have been inspected, tested, and accepted and the building is ready for occupancy from a fire and life safety perspective.