Setting Performance Code Objectives: How Do We Decide What Performance the Codes Intend?
Setting Performance Code Objectives: How Do We Decide
What Performance the Codes Intend?
Bukowski, R. W.
Interscience Communications Ltd.; National Institute of
Standards and Technology; Building Research
Establishment; and Society of Fire Protection Engineers;
Swedish National Testing and Research Institute.
Interflam '96. International Interflam Conference, 7th
Proceedings. March 26-28, 1996, Cambridge, England,
Interscience Communications Ltd., London, England,
Franks, C. A.; Grayson, S., Editor(s)(s), 555-561 pp,
fire safety; codes; building codes; fire codes; safety
There is a worldwide movement toward the replacement of
prescriptive codes with those based on performance
against a set of clear and quantifiable objectives.
This has sparked an important discussion of just what
are appropriate objectives for society to demand of its
built environment. Building codes have evolved well
beyond their traditional roles of assuring the public
health and welfare by incorporating requirements
addressing social issues such as conservation and
protection of heritage. In the fire codes, debate is
ranging over whether people should be required to
protect their own property from fire, and whether
society can afford to protect all of the occupants and
the fire service throughout any incident. Thus far, the
discussion has been limited to identifying objectives,
and has not yet turned to performance levels; a step
that must be taken before performance codes can be
implemented. Performance levels cannot simply be
derived from current codes. Defining code objectives and
performance levels in the U.S. presents a special
challenge since these public policy issues must be
debated by several model code groups, fifty state
legislatures, and countless local bodies. NIST's role
in the process is to provide the technical basis for the
evaluation of performance against objectives, but not in
setting the objectives nor their levels. However, since
the code objectives in part determine the need for
specific performance evaluation methods, NIST has an
interest in facilitating the reaching of consensus on
these difficult issues related to its role in the
application of technology to maintaining U.S.
competitiveness in world markets.