As widespread demand for energy-efficient designs becomes commonplace, fire protection engineers are increasingly becoming an essential part of an integrated design team. Atria are commonly used to increase an occupant’s connection to the outdoors, connect spaces in an adaptive reuse project, provide natural ventilation and access to daylight, but these building features – while architecturally pleasing – create some challenges in meeting NFPA 92B’s requirements for smoke management. This presentation will describe the current code requirements and discuss a variety of design approaches to smoke control as identified in NFPA 92B, such as natural smoke filling, gravity smoke venting, and mechanical exhaust. It will briefly demonstrate the calculations required for a prescriptive design approach, as well as modeling methods used to comply with a performance-based design for when prescriptive measures become too demanding or unfeasible. Examples of real design challenges and computer fire modeling will be provided demonstrating how fire protection engineers help bring these green building features into actuality by meeting the requirements of the code.



  1. Identify the benefits and drawbacks of atria as a part of building design.
  2. Understand the requirements of the IBC and NFPA 92B 2009 for atria and the (5) methods of compliance
  3. Understand the basic calculations of a prescriptive compliance approach
  4. Understand how computer modeling can be used in a performance-based approach when a prescriptive approach is not feasible.



FIRE 3710



AIA LU | HSW Approved

GBCI Certified





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