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Oct 4, 2021

Welcome to solocast episode 18 of Fire Code Tech! On this episode we are talking Department of defense fire protection. This episode details some preliminary information about UFC 3-600-01 the Fire Protection Engineering for facilities criteria. Also we talk about how to determine whether a fire suppression or fire alarm system is required using these criteria. Don't forget to check out if you would like to hear more episodes. 



Hello. Welcome to the solo cast of fire code tech in these episodes. It's just gonna be me, your host, Gus Gagliardi. There's gonna be a range of topics, but I'm gonna talk about specific technologies, installation, standards, codes, and how they work as well as some other interesting topics that don't neatly fit inside of the context of a normal interview.

Hey, what's going on. Welcome to episode 18 fire code tech. On this episode, we were talking about U FFC 3, 600 0 1 or more specifically. How to design fire protection for department of defense facilities. So the reason why I wanted to talk about this subject is because, uh, D O D fire protection is special in pretty much every regard.

Uh, it follows different. Uh, rules and regulations and has a lot of complexity to it. Um, also there are extremely limited resources out there for people discussing fire protection for military occupancies. And so, yeah, I really wanted to speak about this topic because I had a heck of a time learning about it.

So we're gonna get into some of. Fundamentals of D O D criteria when you use them for what kind of facilities you use them, what are the baseline assumptions for fire alarm and fire suppression systems. Um, but we'll see how far we get. This is quite a dense subject. So. Uh, yeah, let's get into it. Don't forget to subscribe and follow us on social media.

So you don't miss any episodes. Oh. And give us a review on apple podcasts so you can help out the show before the UFC, each branch of the military and the us had their own criteria. So the point of the UFC or the unified facilities criteria is to combine. All of the requirements from the Navy air force, army air national guard, et cetera.

Um, to a large extent under one set of documents. When we're talking about fire protection for military facilities, we're really talking about UFC 3, 600 0 1. Right now we're on change six, but the changes for the UFC criteria, uh, come out fairly frequently. So. When I first started in fire protection, I think we were on like change two.

And now we're on change six. So over the co course of four years, we've had, uh, about as many revisions to the unified. Facilities criteria for fire protection engineering. Interesting topic about UFC documents is that there is a hierarchy of applicability in order to them. The general building code document is UFC one, two hun one dash 200 0 1.

And so this document is kind of the broad overview of the building code. . And so the UFC uses a combination of the international building code and N FPA 1 0 1 for its fire protection and life safety documents and UFC 3, 600 0 1 clearly dictates, uh, when to use these different documents for hazardous materials, uh, DOD facilities use NFPA 400.

Um, in contrast to the international building code uses, uh, a combination of chapter three and other chapters within the I B C. So it's a little bit of a different scenario because there are jurisdictions or places in the world that use only an FPA documents or only international billing code with, you know, reference standards and the.

The military uses both. And what I was wanted to get to earlier about the hierarchy of these documents is, um, there are 1, 2, 3, and four series UFCs so 1, 200 0 1 is the DOD building code in 3, 600 0 1. And so. This is an example of one and a three series. And so they start out broad at the ones, and then they get more specific, a common four series document that I have experienced using is 4, 2 11 0 1, which is the, um, military standard for aircraft hangers.

And so if there is a. Uh, conflict in the information that's provided in the UFC documents. The one with the higher number takes precedence is more specific. So if there's fire protection, density criteria and 3, 600 0 1 and 4, 2 11 0 1. Then four to 1101 takes precedence. If you have a facility that is a military aircraft hanger.

So there are other UFC documents for mechanical engineering and other engineering disciplines. But for the purposes of this episode, we'll focus on, uh, UFC 3, 600 0 1. So the process of determining. Fire alarm and fire suppression systems for UFC documents is, uh, different than the I B C or, or NFPA, um, 1 0 1 or one.

So let's talk a little bit about how to determine. Um, if you need a fire alarm or a fire suppression system for DOD facilities. So there are similarities and differences from the way that the I B C specifies the sprinkler system and UFC 3, 600 0 1 specifies, uh, sprinkler system. So there's similar in the regard that there are specific occupancies that have specific requirements and UFC 3, 600 0 1 that say, if you have this occupancy or this set of criteria, then you need a sprinkler system.

but the way that they significantly differ from each other is when is the baseline building construction elements that require a sprinkler system. So in the international building code, we would have thresholds of building height and area, um, that are, you know, could be for five B construction. As much as 8,000 or more square feet before you start needing a sprinkler system, depending on your occupancy, of course, but for, um, UFC 3, 600 0 1 starting at about 5,000 square feet, or, uh, even if you're looking at, um, fairly non combustible construction types, you are still in territory that could have a sprinkler system.

So. Um, the military requires sprinkler systems for, uh, many of their buildings. And so for fire alarm and mass notification systems. So the difference between, uh, what the military requires and what the, uh, common building code requires is a fire alarm system for. Um, regular occupancies of this size, the military requires a mass notification system.

This is a voice communication system with a lot more rigorous, uh, messages. There are conditions for fire and, um, different events event. And so the, the criteria in which you would find. the requirements for fire alarm and mass notifications is four dash oh 21 dash oh one, the design and operation and maintenance of mass notification systems.

So the way you find out, if you need a fire alarm system is completely different than the international building code, cuz essentially almost every facility needs fire alarm and mass notification. If it is. A facility that, um, is using, um, for dash O 10 0 1, which is the minimum anti-terrorism standards for buildings.

And so only situations I've found that are, uh, excluding fire alarm and mass notification systems are the extremely small or the extremely remote the base can. Of course, uh, since they are the authority have having jurisdiction. Um, opt out if the base AJ says that it's not required. So unless you're dealing with a extremely, uh, unoccupied and small and remote building, you're going to most likely have a fire alarm and mass notification system.

So I've had this, uh, I've done this exercise many times for. um, buildings that are extremely small and unoccupied, but the criteria, uh, for if a fire alarm system is required or not is in four dash O 10 dash oh one. And then the requirements for the component architecture and the different, uh, pieces of the fire alarm and mass notification system and where those go are located in UFC dash four dash.

21 dash oh one. So if you, uh, an interesting additional portion of the fire alarm system that is in, um, uh, some military buildings, but not generally in commercial facilities is textual notification signs. So these are signs that are located, uh, very similarly. To manual pool stations in that you have them at exiting doors, um, generally above the doors or near the doors and they will display pieces and portions of the fire alarm and mass notification system messaging.

So say if you had a fire alarm, it might say, uh, fire or evacuate and, or they could be static or they could be scroll. . So this is an interesting different piece or portion of fire protection design for fire alarm and mass notification systems. UFC 3, 600 0 1 has a similar layout as the building code.

And that is a re reorganization that has come later on in the document's history. It starts off in broad terms with scope and administration applicability purpose criteria in general building requirements in the. um, one through one dash, one through one dash five. And so these are kind of the same beginning chapters, as you would find in the, uh, in the building code.

Chapter two is definitions and, uh, chapter three is use in occupancy. So these. Similar to the way the building code is laid out. And so this was part of that reorganization. The reason why, uh, it's interesting to work on DOD projects, or one of the reasons why it's interesting to work on DOD projects is cuz they oftentimes require a licensed fire protection engineer, not just an engineer that is qualified to practice fire protection engineer.

Um, so there are many requirements in UFC, 3, 600 0 1 that, uh, kind of reference, uh, uh, fire protection engineer who is, who has passed the NC Ws exam for, uh, professional engineering related to fire protection. There's been a recent trend in UFC 3, 600 0 1 to transition to the fire protection engineer, being the.

Kind of sole source for the fire protection systems and life safety for the building. This is a little bit different than how it works in commercial industries, because oftentimes architects are charged with a portion of the life safety design, namely egress and building configuration, as well as, uh, sometimes things like fire extinguishers will be designated by architects.

So when you. On a military project, especially it depends on which, uh, organization you're working with. Um, sometimes they will opt to have the fire protection engineer be the sole source for the fire protection and life safety. And you'll have to even, uh, seal the life safety drawings or the G sheets, um, with the fire protection engineer seal, which is a, is a difference for sure, from the commercial fire protection engineer.

So here's an interesting section, talking a little bit more about that fire suppression requirement that we were talking about earlier. And this is one dash 12.8 0.1 automatic sprinkler systems. It says. For facilities that do not require sprinkler protection as required in the special detailed requirements based on use or fire protection systems chapters.

So this is the equivalent of chapter four and chapter nine in the building code. So detailed, specific occupancy requirements and like the systems chapter of, of sprinkler systems. So. Says the design fire protection engineer must determine if the sprinkler system or other fire suppression system is required for the facility based on mission hazard of contents, value of contents or other criteria.

This determination must be included in the contract documents for design services or design build services. So. This is an interesting statement because there are a lot of factors here that don't play in civilian design services. So mission hazard of contents, value of contents. Um, generally, I mean, it would make sense that if a building was of a significant value or had significantly hazardous materials, that you would need the sprinkler system, but obviously there's a different flare to it because it's a department of defense.

Well, that's it for our first segment on DOD facilities and just dipping our toe into fire protection for, uh, facilities that use the unified facilities criteria. And I hope you enjoyed it. And if you'd like to hear some more exposition on UFC criteria and system determination and design, uh, check us out at code.

Thanks for listening. Thanks for listening, everybody. Be sure to share the episode with a friend, if you enjoyed it, don't forget that fire protection and life safety is serious business. The views and opinions expressed on this podcast are by no means a professional consultation or a codes and standards interpretation.

Be sure to contact a licensed professional. If you are getting involved with fire protection and or life safety. Thanks again. And we'll see you next time.