Assisting HFD With High-rise Building Survey

The high-rise survey is one of the most crucial pieces of the puzzle that Building Management, Building Engineers, Fire Safety Directors, and or General Contractors can fill out to assist the Houston Fire Department in preparing for an emergency. This beneficial information helps fire suppression crews see the whole picture and navigate their way through your building.

Please help us help you by filling out as much information on the High-rise Survey (HFD Form 27) before our Suppression Personnel comes to walk your building for tactical purposes.

Scenario High-rise Building

We like placing scenarios online for visualization purposes. Below is an example building that will hopefully allow you to assist the H.F.D. with the High-rise Survey. Please download this blank High-rise Survey (Form 27) so that you may follow along. We will fill out limited information based on this scenario to save time. However, you can download this High-rise survey (Excel version)that corresponds with the scenario for more detailed information. Also, here is the example scenario High-rise survey (pdf version)


You have been involved with a Residential High-rise building project that has retail space and a leasing office on the ground level and is 40 levels/stories total. It has two basement levels and 38 levels above grade and there is no level 13. You will need partial occupancy before the building is completely built-out so that you may open the retail spaces and leasing offices to lease out a few floors before completion. Once opened, the building will have a Stationary Concierge on-site 24/7, but before you can partially occupy the building, you are aware that you will need a Fire Marshal Approval for a Temporary Certificate of Occupancy (TCO).

Building Name and Address: The Luxury Residential Tower, 1234 Anywhere St., Houston, Texas 77000.

The building is fully sprinkled according to the building and fire codes, the fire protection system is a standpipe/sprinkler combination, the building has an adjacent parking garage that is 9 levels, with a pool and amenities on level 10, four stairs, six elevator banks, no special suppression systems, no smoke control system but does have stair pressurization system for evacuation, the building has wired fireman phone jacks instead of Emergency Responder Radio Coverage (ERRC), gas for grills used for cooking by the pool and the units have gas appliances for cooking, there are no hazardous materials in the building, and it has a state of the art fire alarm system in the Fire Command Center (FCC) that has all the indications for different systems within the building report to the panel.

To receive Fire Marshal Approval for Partial Occupancy of the high-rise building, you have been tasked with scheduling a Fire Marshal Approval and preparing for an HFD Fire Inspector to come to inspect what you have prepared. This high-rise survey is a major part of that inspection, and you have been told that the survey needs to be filled out with as much information as possible. Management will take care of the rest with HFD Suppression crews after the building is turned over to the Building Owners. When filling out the form, you must be very specific.

The building name, address, entry information, and location of the Fire Command Center or Fire Control Center can be answered with basic knowledge of your building; However, for fire protection systems, elevator, gas, electrical, and back-up generator systems questions, you may need the assistance of the professionals in those particular fields or the assistance of the building engineer.

Let’s get started. The High-rise ID will be filled-in by HFD later. Building Name and Address: The Luxury Residential Tower, 1234 Anywhere St., Houston, Texas 77000. The scenario has a building with 38 levels/stories above grade and 2 levels/stories below grade (grade = ground level), and there is no level 13. Fill in the blank with specific information 38 and 2. Naming the floors from the lowest level through the 5th floor would be B2, B1, G, 2,3,4,5. Occupancy Type: Residential, Retail only on level 1.

Building Entry Information:
Preplanned entry point: Front door off 1234 Anywhere St.,
Does the building have 24-hour security on-site? Yes, roving security and Stationary Concierge on-site 24/7.
Working hours of engineering personnel. Monday – Friday 08:00 – 17:00, Saturday & Sunday on-call for emergencies (Military time must be used here and weekends should be included with the information).

Fire Control Center/ Fire Command Center:
Location of Fire Control Center: Behind Security Desk to the left.
Telephone number in FCC: 1-800-777-9311
Emergency Control Features of FCC: Fire alarm, Emergency Voice/Alarm Communication (EVAC) system, Elevator Control Panel, Standby Power start & transfer, firefighter’s smoke control panel, fire department communication system (Fireman phones).
If the alarm panel is not in the FCC, where is it? Alarm
panel inside FCC, additional annunciator panel at the security desk.

The Fire Depository Box should be in the Fire Control Center/Fire Command Center, should be double-locked to allow for access by HFD and Building Management, and should have maps and keys for access.

All High-rise buildings in the City of Houston should be 100 percent sprinkled. Control sprinkler valves for floors are usually located on alternating floors. Also, it should be noted if suppression crews will require a ladder to reach the sprinkler control valves and if there are ladders available.

SIDE NOTE: Standpipe zones are significant. Especially the labeling of standpipe/sprinkler combination systems with low-zones, mid-zones, and high-zones. Labeling a zone incorrectly can amount to the damage being caused to the system should an incident require certain pressures to be pumped into the system for suppression efforts. (Utilization of your Fire Protection Company who installed the system should help the sprinkler/standpipe systems questions.)

The assistance of the building engineer and/or elevator installation company will be useful in filling out these questions.

Please see download scenario example for more detailed information on stairways.

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