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Methodology for the Quantitative Treatment of Variability and Uncertainty in Performance-Based Engineering Analysis and/or Decision Analysis With a Case Study in Residential Fire Sprinklers.


pdf icon Methodology for the Quantitative Treatment of Variability and Uncertainty in Performance-Based Engineering Analysis and/or Decision Analysis With a Case Study in Residential Fire Sprinklers. (1270 K)
Notarianni, K. A.; Fischbeck, P. S.

Pacific Rim Conference and Second (2nd) International Conference on Performance-Based Codes and Fire Safety Design Methods. Proceedings. International Code Council and the Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE). May 3-9, 1998, Maui, HI, International Code Council, Birmingham, AL, 225-239 pp, 1998.

Keywords:

performance based codes; fire safety; decision analysis; sprinklers; residential buildings; fire protection; methodology; fire losses; fire statistics; costs; sensitivity analysis; residential sprinklers; uncertainty

Abstract:

Implementation of any form of a performance-based standard will require many decisions to be made. These decisions will be more difficult, more complex, and more uncertain than under a prescriptive-based code. This paper presents a methodology which quantitatively treats variability and uncertainty and applies it to a complex fire protection engineering problem. The methodology is both rigorous and user-friendly. It does not require quantification of all uncertainties in an analysis. A three-phase approach is utilized which identifies those variables with ranges great enough to reverse the final decision and encodes uncertainty on them. Information about the uncertainty of these critical variables is then empolyed in the analysis. Results are displayed graphically as either discrete or continuous joint probability distributions. The methodology also demonstrates ways of handling value judgments, such as the value of premature death avoided, by means of comparative analysis, parametric analyses, or switchover analysis. This methodology was applied to a model for determining the benefits and costs of residential fire sprinklers. Results from this study provide insights about the merits of residential fire sprinkler systems which were not evident in previous studies.