In an initial phase, Rhino reviewed the sprinkler system design specification documents for the expansion of the Biomass Boiler Plant at the Canandaigua VA Medical Center in the Finger Lakes region of central New York. This facility uses biomass byproducts such as wood chips and bark salvaged from local lumberyards and logging operations to generate clean, steam-powered energy for the VA campus. The expansion building houses a steam-driven generator, automated conveyers, woodchip storage, emissions control equipment, and supporting utilities.
In a subsequent phase, Rhino developed the design of a deluge system to satisfy code equivalency requirements for fire rated construction between the wood chips silo and boiler rooms. We also designed a fire pump to provide the water supply to simultaneously support the deluge system and ceiling sprinkler systems.
Rhino FPE was engaged to provide engineering, design, and consulting services under a multi-year IDIQ contract to the Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center (VAMC). Task orders included construction of a new 2-story wing, relocation of occupants to the new space, and subsequent existing space renovations including Centralized Registration and Outpatient Lab areas. Another task order encompassed construction of a new Senior Management Building, a one-story, stand-alone facility for office use (10,000 sf). All work conducted in an occupied campus environment and required minimal disruption to patients and staff.
Rhino’s scope in all of these projects included design of standpipe and automatic sprinkler systems as well as extension of the existing hospital fire alarm system to protect the facilities. We also provided building code and life safety consulting to ensure that architectural designs met the VA Fire Protection Design Manual as well as applicable building code requirements.
Augusta Health is required to comply with Joint Commission accreditation requirements and Life Safety code inspection. Rhino FPE was selected by the Owner to provide a conditions assessment of six buildings (A, B, C, D, Cancer Center, and Medical Office Building) in support of this effort. Our assessment encompassed a code compliance review as well as evaluation of construction and the fire protection and life safety features of each building.
Several challenges made the survey, evaluation, and analysis a complex task. Among the challenges: Multiple buildings constructed/renovated with differing codes, several use classifications, inter-connected buildings, and special building features or use characteristics (atrium, special care pavilions, operating rooms, etc.). Rhino developed a Conditions Deficiency Report detailing our findings as well as a prioritized list of recommendations with cost estimates for correction.
Rhino FPE served as Fire Protection Engineer of Record for the new Battle Building, The multiple features of this high-rise hospital /medical facility required several interrelated fire protection systems including atria smoke control, stair pressurization, smoke compartment design, fire alarm with voice communication capabilities, seismic design, and multiple types of fire suppression systems (dry-type, pre-action, window sprinkler protection, wet-type, standpipe, and secondary on-site fire pump and tank water supply.
A challenge in the project was the narrow and long shape of the atrium. Rhino developed a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model using Fire Dynamics Simulator (FDS) to validate the design for the atrium smoke control system that was developed with prescriptive correlations. The ceiling configuration required special design for the smoke exhaust outlets to prevent plug-holing.