NIST Time|NIST Home|About NIST|Contact NIST

HomeAll Years:AuthorKeywordTitle2005-2010:AuthorKeywordTitle

Performance-Based Codes: Economics, Documentation, and Design.

pdf icon Performance-Based Codes: Economics, Documentation, and Design. (11890 K)
Averill, J. D.

NIST GCR 98-752; 203 p. July 1998.


National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD

Available from:

National Technical Information Service
Order number: PB98-157081


performance based codes; economic factors; high rise buildings; office buildings; building design; architects; architecture; evacuation; water supply; sprinklers; scenarios; occupants


The advent of performance-based codes in the United States underscores the need for a thorough, systematic approach to the documentation and accomplishment of a performance-based design. This project has three objectives: economic analysis of performance-based codes from a social view point, documentation of a performance-based design, and an example application of the ICC Performance-Based Code to high-rise office builidng. Economic issues explored include the externalities, insurance, and liabilities associated with performance-based codes. Documentation of a performance-based design includes delineation of the scope and goals with agreement between the designer, architect, building owner, and authority having jurisdiction, examination of the relevant code statutes, development of appropriate fire scenarios which meet the requirements of the performance matrices, thorough documentation of all design tool and calculation assumptions and limitatiions, and a clear demonstration of satisfactory accomplishment of stated goals and objectives. Finally, performance-based design alternatives to a prescriptively-designed 40 story office building were developed. There were three major design alternatives. The first design feature was the evacuation of occupants using elevators. The second alternative was the use of the assured fire safety system, which combined emerging technologies in fire detection, alarm, and suppression. The final design alternative was the routing of the domestic water supply through the sprinkler riser in order increase the reliability of the sprinkler system and save design, material, and installation costs associated with the domestic water supply risers. Finally, this project analyzed the specific life-cycle economic impact of the design alternatives when compared to the prescriptive design.