Laguna Woods California

Project Description

Fire and Life Safety Assessment for the detection, alarm, and notification of fires

The project consisted of the general assessment of the fire and life safety conditions and potential for fire alarm replacement at 81 three to four stories housing units. The scope of work included the testing and documentation of all 81 fire detection, alarm, and notification systems. The documentation consisted of separate fire safety assessment report with respective video of fire and life safety issues.

Customer : Laguna Woods Management
Category : Building Code Analysis
Status : Complete
Tags : building_code_analysis

This project was conceptually simple. It did involve systematic inspections of 81 residential apartment buildings. The key characteristic of the Leisure World complex is that residents are permitted to become residents only if they are at least 55 years old

Aging presents several challenges in emergencies

It is not just mobility that affects the elderly population. Well know limitations such as loss of hearing and sight are also challenges hindering recognition of alarms and notifications directives

Laguna woods is decades old

Laguna Woods Village in Southern California was originally built in the early sixties. Most of the residential buildings were outdated. It was expected that most fire alarm systems would be obsolete. The systematic inspection and testing of the fire alarm systems proved that suspicion.

Through a systematic inspection of both fire sprinklers, fire standpipes, and fire alarm systems, assessment of the fire and life safety was shown.

Fire Suppression systems

Buildings were generally equipped with a partial fire sprinklers protecting primarily garbage chutes that connected 3 to 4 stories. Every building was also provided with an underground parking garage..

fire detection, alarm, and notification systems

Again, given that those structures were designed and built in the early sixties, those systems did not meet the requirement of fire alarm system in 2005 Codes.

It is well know practice to “grand-father” buildings that were designed and built prior to the current Code requirements. It is also well known that Authorities Having Jurisdiction reluctantly go along the “grand-fathering” approach until they feel that safety could be at stake, then with a compromising sensibilities, they would mandate certain minimum requirements for outdated buildings.

Long Practiced “Grand-Fathereding” of Buildings

A well known world-wide practice to accumulate larger and larger number of buildings that are automatically grand-fathered after every Code adoption. That has also been the case for Laguna Woods Village.

Recommendations: Upgrade, Replace, and Maintain

Given the sheer number of buildings that were not compliant with the current Codes and current industry standards, it was recommended to take into account the nature of the occupants, as some were in their late fifties and early sixties, but some were in their seventies and eighties. These apartments were designed for independent retired elderly population.