NFPA Journal talks about designing fire safety for new football stadium

Blog Post created by ryan.quinn Employee on Jul 17, 2014

Paul Villotti a vice-president of FP&C Consultants, a fire protection engineering consulting firm, has been involved with hundreds of large assembly projects in his 28 years with the firm. One of them is the $1.3 billion Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California, the new home of the San Francisco 49ers. The stadium is scheduled to open in August.

Planning a new stadium is a lot of work, as Villoti will tell you. “We looked at the design and did the basic building code review, and identified areas and design features that weren’t in compliance with the code, and began a series of meetings with the building’s architects and with officials from the City of Santa Clara to work through those things…It took about a year and a half to get to a position where everybody agreed that all of the outstanding items could be properly addressed.”

The hardest part of the planning, as far as compliance with the building code is concerned, was the design of the stadium’s tower, which had to be addressed as a high-rise building. “A lot of the suites and clubs and premium amenities are located in a high-rise structure that’s part of the stadium. From a life safety standpoint, there are 11,000 people sitting in a high-rise tower watching a game, and that really isn’t the same thing as what the building codes, or even NFPA 101®, Life Safety Code®, envisions as a ‘stadium.’…A lot of our work on Levi’s Stadium was spent addressing this hiccup in the code.”

For more on the process of designing and building Levi’s Stadium, read Scott Sutherland’s article “Thoroughly Modern” the July/August issue of NFPA Journal.


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