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7 - Fire Protection Engineering

Introduction GSA’s approach in the construction of new facilities and renovation projects is to design facilities that incorporate efficient, cost-effective fire protection and detection systems that are effective in detecting and extinguishing or controlling a fire event. The primary goal is to protect human life from fire and products of combustion. The secondary goals are to reduce the potential loss from fire (i.e., Federal real and personal property and maintain client agency mission continuity) to the Federal Government and taxpayer.

General Scope This chapter provides the technical fire protection requirements and design criteria for GSA facilities to meet the goals identified above. The majority of the fire protection requirements are contained in numerous national codes and standards. Compliance with national codes and standards is explained, and areas where GSA’s requirements differ from the referenced national codes and standards are delineated. The Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ), for all technical requirements of this chapter, for all fire protection and life safety code interpretations and code enforcement requirements is the GSA regional fire protection engineer.


The technical fire protection requirements are primarily directed to the construction of new facilities and renovation projects. Performance based designs are encouraged.

A registered fire protection engineer is required to be a full participant of the architect/engineer (A/E) design team for the project. The design team fire protection engineer must have at least 6 years experience from which at least 3 consecutive years are directly involved in the fire protection engineering field. This same or an equally competent professional must remain on the A/E’s project staff for the entire design of the project and shall perform the design of all fire protection and life safety systems including but not limited to: building construction, occupancy classifications, means of egress, water supply, fire alarm system(s), water based fire extinguishing systems, non-water based fire extinguishing systems, fire dynamics calculations, egress calculations, smoke control calculations, etc. See Appendix A for specific submission requirements.

For all projects involving fire protection engineering issues, a dialog must be established between the design team fire protection engineer and the GSA regional fire protection engineer. The GSA regional fire protection engineer shall have the right to revise the specific requirements within this chapter based on a technical evaluation/analysis and the project’s specific need.

Deviations from established requirements are allowed when the Design Team’s registered fire protection engineer performs an assessment that analyzes the risks. The GSA regional fire protection engineer shall review the technical documentation to determine that the proposed alternative design is deemed equivalent or superior to the intent of the prescribed requirements of this chapter. Refer to Chapter 1 for additional information.

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