U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
Existing health care facilities operated by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) must comply with the life safety standards in the National Fire Protection Association 101 Life Safety Code, 2012 Edition. Working with Davenergy Solutions, SGH assessed and evaluated compliance of twenty buildings on five VA campuses (Mather, Martinez, Mare Island, McClellan, and Fairfield) to help the VA prepare for their accreditation by the Joint Commission. Our initial assessments were conducted over a six-month period and will be supplemented with recurring audits for five years.
Our field surveys included assessing existing fire protection features and identifying deficiencies in each building. Highlights of our work include the following:
- Documenting existing fire protection features, including exterior exit doors, exit stairs/ramps (exterior or interior), smoke proof enclosures, horizontal exits, exit passageways, fire barriers, smoke barriers and compartments, hazardous areas, suites, and linen/trash chutes
- Evaluating the conditions of fire resistance-rated wall assemblies, including dampers and penetrations through the walls, smoke barriers, and floor assemblies above the ceiling
- Identifying deficiencies with respect to fire barrier integrity, fire door rating and/or performance, sprinkler spacing, fire alarm location, and smoke detector spacing
- Assessing spaces for proper occupancy classification
SGH created a custom program that allowed us to organize our observations and integrate photos, and also present the VA with a deficiency log, the deficiencies located on existing life safety drawings, and a photo log for each entry.
As part of this work, SGH is performing bi-annual audits to field verify existing conditions and document changes that occur over time due to changing technologies and space configurations.