Fire & Egress Modeling

Fire & Egress Modeling

Led by licensed Fire Protection Engineers, the CCI Fire & Egress Modeling team has extensive expertise and experience using sophisticated models to achieve code compliance, apply performance based design methodologies, and pursue code equivalency and alternate methods, while maintaining the desired level of fire protection and life safety. The tools used by CCI achieve the aesthetics desirable to architects, the cost reductions appealing to owners and developers, and the protection to life and property demanded by all.


The experts at CCI apply computer modeling such as zone fire modeling, Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) fire modeling, multi-zone airflow modeling, and egress modeling to perform a variety of fire protection and life safety analyses, including:

Timed Egress Analysis

Whether it includes algebraic hydraulic flow calculations, or agent based evacuation simulations, CCI's expertise in Timed Egress Analyses is applied to achieve a wide range of solutions, including:

  • Code equivalencies and alternate methods
  • Extended exit access travel distances
  • Reduced number of exits
  • Increased occupant loads
  • Compliance with platform egress requirements in NFPA 130
  • Use of existing, historic egress elements
  • Omission of smoke and heat venting in warehouse and distribution facilities
  • Smoke protected assembly seating egress system evaluations
  • High profile building analyses

As the use and functionality of buildings evolves and the demand for larger and more complex buildings increases, it can be difficult to adhere to prescriptive life safety code requirements regarding egress. An egress model can accurately represent exiting occupants to aid in the implementation of alternative egress system designs.

Coupled with a smoke movement analysis, CCI uses an egress model to aid in the design of smoke control systems and performance based designs.

Code Consultants CCI Pressurization Graphics with a section view of two high-rise towers.

Pressurization Analysis

Designing pressurization systems to achieve required pressure differences can be complicated. Computer modeling, such as a multi-zone airflow analysis, is often needed to design a cost effective system that functions properly. A multi-zone airflow model calculates the pressure differences between zones induced by supply and exhaust. Atmospheric conditions such as wind and outside temperatures are included to address flows within the building that are generated by these factors.

The experts at CCI successfully perform pressurization analyses to aid in the design of effective pressurization systems, including stair and elevator pressurization systems, and floor-to-floor pressurization systems, for a variety of buildings. CCI uses precise modeling of how systems interact and work together to meet fire protection and life safety requirements, reduce costs, and minimize commissioning time.

Smoke Movement Analysis

Whether an atrium, assembly seating space such as theaters or stadia, or transportation facilities like airports and train stations, the experts at CCI use a variety of tools, including Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) modeling, to analyze how smoke movement from potential fire scenarios is affected by building fire protection systems and to protect occupants during egress. These tools are used in multiple applications to achieve optimized designs, including:

  • Increased makeup air velocities
  • Decreased exhaust quantities
  • Omission of smoke and heat venting in warehouse and distribution facilities
  • Optimized exhaust and makeup air locations
  • Increased number of levels open to the atrium or assembly space
  • Reduced ceiling heights
  • Optimized detection designs
  • Integration of opening protectives, such as shutters
  • Available versus required safe egress time analysis (ASET vs. RSET)

Thermal Exposure Analysis

While the more immediate effects of a fire on occupants is the direct exposure of smoke and hot gases, the thermal exposure of a fire to building components can have an equally detrimental effect on the safety of occupants and first responders. Understanding the thermal exposure of a fire to structural members and compartmentation elements is used to provide alternative methods of protection or meet prescriptive criteria. For these applications, CCI has the tools, expertise, and knowledge to analyze the effects of potential fire hazards on exposures, including the use of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) modeling. Applications include:

  • Cantilever Building Analyses, including NYC Buildings Bulletin 2017-014
  • Structural fire resistance
  • Omission of passive fire protection (e.g. spray fireproofing)
  • Façade exposures for reduced fire separation distances or increased wall openings, including Airport jet fuel spill exposures

CCI applies this type of analysis for a variety of building types and elements, including airport terminals, train stations, parking structures, cantilevered buildings, stadiums, and more.

Cantilevered Building Fire Exposure Analysis

In dense metropolitan areas, the airspace above existing buildings can be extremely valuable for new developments, allowing them to expand their building area by cantilevering above an existing building. The experts at CCI are experienced at analyzing fire exposures associated with cantilevered buildings and have successfully completed numerous cantilever projects.

Building codes are beginning to specifically require fire engineering analyses for these types of cantilever building conditions, and CCI has the tools, expertise, and experience to successfully provide this analysis.

Fire Protection and Life Safety Systems Response and Activation Analysis

Fire sprinkler and fire alarm systems are integral to the defense against loss of life and property during a fire. Understanding the performance of these systems is key to the development and assessment of alternative, performance based solutions that provide the desired level of protection, while maintaining the architectural vision and limiting construction and maintenance costs. A fire protection and life safety systems response and activation analysis calculates fire sprinkler activation, smoke and heat detector and vent activation, or the response of other fire protection systems, based on actual anticipated fuel loading and architecture of the space, while providing a much more realistic assessment of how systems will perform.

Analysis benefits include increased sprinkler or detector spacing, omission of sprinklers or detection, or the elimination of smoke and heat vents. This analysis can be combined with timed egress and / or smoke control analyses to optimize the overall design.