NIST Time|NIST Home|About NIST|Contact NIST

HomeAll Years:AuthorKeywordTitle2005-2010:AuthorKeywordTitle

Forum Workshop on Establishing the Scientific Foundation for Performance-Based Fire Codes. Proceedings.

pdf icon Forum Workshop on Establishing the Scientific Foundation for Performance-Based Fire Codes. Proceedings. (699 K)
Grosshandler, W. L.

NIST SP 1061; NIST Special Publication 1061; 66 p. December 2006.

Forum Workshop on Establishing the Scientific Foundation for Performance-Based Fire Codes. Proceedings. April 5-7, 2006, 2006.


performance based codes; fire codes; fire research; fire safety; fire science; experiments; simulation; combustion models; data sets; fire models; risk analysis; hazard analysis; fire protection; fire growth; combustion products; building design; occupants; structures; design applications


The International Forum of Fire Research Directors (FORUM) is a group of the Directors of fire research organizations throughout the world which aim to reduce the burden of fire (including the loss of life and property, and effects of fire on the environment and heritage) through international cooperation on fire research. The desirability of having a roadmap to advance the scientific foundation for performance based fire safety design (PBD) was agreed upon at the 2005 FORUM meeting in Magdeburg, Germany. Representatives from the FORUM membership and other invited technical experts gathered at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Gaithersburg on April 5-7, 2006, to develop a common, international vision for how a scientific foundation might be structured, which parts of the foundation are likely to be robust and where gaps are likely to exist into the foreseeable future. It was recognized that performance-based fire safety design already exists and is practiced in many parts of the world today, and that our current tools and level of understanding are adequate to support certain classes of performance-based fire safety design; however, other significant PBD applications were identified that exceed the capabilities of these tools. A vision for the next generation of performance-based design tools was developed that included a wide-range of enhanced capabilities that are documented in this report. Methods for the attainment of this vision were identified that included the establishment of * a hierarchy of meaningful benchmark fire experiments and simulations; * tractable combustion models that capture the essence of solid fuels, and with simple multi-step reaction mechanisms for prediction of CO and soot; * data sets and experimental facilities for unraveling the relationships within and interactions among fire dynamics, structural dynamics, and human behavior;* efficient interfaces among fire models, structural models, human behavior models, and risk models; and * data and means to track uncertainty in risk and hazard analysis, and to incorporate rare, high consequence events. Five areas were identified at the top of the list of research priorities: * improvement of our ability to predict the impact of active fire protection systems on fire growth and fate of combustion products; * estimation of uncertainty and the means to incorporate it into hazard and risk analyses; * the relationship between aspects of the building design and the safety of building occupants; * the impact of material and geometry changes on fire growth and the fate of combustion products; and * the prediction of the response of a structure to full building burn-out. In general, the commitment by the FORUM members to support research in a given area was consistent with its priority. A summary of the activities and justification for the vision and research priorities are contained in this report.