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Economic Analysis of Egress and Life Safety Costs



Robert E. Chapman, Allison L. Huang, David T. Butry


In 2007, the latest year for which construction data are available, the value of construction put in place was $1.1 trillion. Statistics on the total cost of fire in the U.S. are published by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Of particular interest to this study is NFPA s estimate of the annual cost of fire protection in buildings, which employs a procedure based on the value of construction put in place. Applying the NFPA procedure to the most recent data on the value of construction put in place, produces an estimated cost of fire protection of $51.1 billion in 2007. Egress-related measures are a major component of any fire protection strategy in buildings. This White Paper tabulates cost data for selected egress-related measures in five prototypical buildings. The five prototypical buildings range in height from a five floor mid-rise building to a 75 floor high-rise building. Cost data are tabulated in a format that facilitates life-cycle cost analyses of alternative egress-related measures. Incremental costs are also tabulated to help assess the implications of changing one or more design parameters. The paper concludes with a break-even analysis of the two prototypical buildings greater than 420 ft (128 m) in height to determine how low the life-cycle costs of installing and maintaining occupant evacuation elevators must fall before breaking even relative to the alternative of installing an additional exit stair.


Buildings, cost data, economic analysis, egress, fire protection, life-cycle cost analysis, safety


Chapman, R. , Huang, A. and Butry, D. (2009), Economic Analysis of Egress and Life Safety Costs, Other, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD (Accessed June 18, 2024)


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Created April 27, 2009, Updated February 19, 2017