Will my smoke control system work properly during a fire? That is the question all building owners/operators should ask themselves. Smoke control systems are unique in that they often sit dormant (sometimes for years) and problems that can affect their operation may not be identified until it is too late. To ensure the right answer when you need it, catch up on device monitoring, commissioning, and why the self-test concept has received a bad rap.
The codes and standards aren’t what they used to be when it comes to ventilation requirements. It might also be time to reconsider real-life occupancies with regard to design demands. Is there room to tighten up and boost efficiencies while maintaining adequate airflows?
This month, a consultant and NFPA committee chairman looks at the major items involved in a hospital’s life safety design. Like the fire risks themselves, the assorted relevant codes are evolving with regard to specifics like smoke dampers. HVAC wall penetrations, alarm zoning, and response plans are just three other aspects to consider in this demanding design environment.
When a community-based hospital adds a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) so its most fragile patients can be cared for in-house rather than at a regional center 50 miles away, a family places enormous trust in the hospital’s ability to meet its baby’s health care needs.
The ability of engine-powered generators to start and supply standby power of acceptable frequency and voltage within 10 seconds of a utility outage has made these generators the standby power system of choice for a wide variety of facilities including mission critical.
Leaning on experience and data from various K-12 cities and projects, the author pursues some less conventional design approaches. They may revolve around radiant heating and/or cooling, but depending on school size and other factors, the smart use of heat recovery, DOAS, and improved central plants could also put a project on the HVAC honor roll.