Gage-Babcock & Associates Ltd. specializes in Life Safety in the built environment through the application of the criteria contained in Part 3, "Use and Occupancy", of the B.C. and National Building Codes and the Vancouver Building By-Law.
Coordinated Fire and Life Safety System Testing: The latest editions of the building codes in British Columbia require a coordinated demonstration that all fire and life safety systems in a building operate as a consolidated system when required to do so. The features in complex buildings can include elements from multiple disciplines including the operation of automatic closures in fire separations, sprinkler systems, elevator recall, HVAC system shut downs, fire alarm system operations (including audible and visual signal appliances), door releases, etc. Our staff includes individuals who have expertise in these life safety systems which gives us the capability to coordinate the overall design and testing of these systems. The operation of the fire and life safety systems is primarily linked to the fire alarm system in a building. GBA staff can provide a consolidated approach to the design and installation of these systems by applying the following approach:
- Development of an overall fire alarm sequence of operation to incorporate all elements. Examples include identification of what audible signals are heard in portions of a building, when elevators are to recall, when fans should shut down, etc. A concise statement of the sequence of operation of the fire alarm and other life safety systems is developed at the start of the design of a facility, which is used by the design team to incorporate into each discipline (mechanical, electrical, architectural).
- Negotiation and acceptance of the sequence of operation with the local building and fire officials.
- Periodic field reviews of the installations to ensure that all multi-disciplinary elements are incorporated as a single consolidated system.
Development of a protocol for the final testing and demonstration to the local building and fire officials that the system will operate as intended when it is required to do so under emergency conditions. Successful demonstration of the fire and life safety systems at the end of a project is a key factor in expediting the issuance of an occupancy permit.
GBA has extensive experience in the analysis of buildings for code compliance and the preparation of equivalency and fire protection master planning studies, resulting in a thorough understanding of fire and life safety concepts and the intent, requirements and concerns of governing building codes and regulatory agencies.
Because building codes primarily regulate the construction of new buildings, literal application of the criteria to the upgrading of existing facilities often presents unrealistic or physically impractical requirements. GBA's knowledge of fire and life safety principles and code requirements, with selective use of various North American standards related specifically to existing structures, provides a basis for developing practical means of achieving the intended levels of safety within the project parameters.
GBA staff remain active in the development and interpretation of the codes through participation in Committees. Examples include:
- APEGBC Building Code Committee.
- Certified Professional Steering Committee