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Performance Based Fire Safety Regulation Under Intentional Uncertainty.

pdf icon Performance Based Fire Safety Regulation Under Intentional Uncertainty. (742 K)
Brannigan, V. M.; Smidts, C.

Human Behavior in Fire. International Symposium, 1st. Proceedings. August 31-September 2, 1998, Belfast, Northern Ireland, Textflow Ltd., Northern Ireland, Shields, J., Editor(s), 411-420 pp, 1999.

Fire and Materials, Vol. 23, No. 6, 341-347, November/December 1999.


National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD


human behavior; performance based codes; fire safety; regulations; fire risk; decision making; fire models; uncertainty


Many predictive fire risk models use as inputs the results of complex human decisions. These human decisions can take many forms, with widely varying degrees of predictability. Many performance based analyses interpret or express the output of these decisions as technical phenomena, as if they were physical variables in a well defined natural system, rather then human decisions. However human decision making does not follow the same kind of well understood rules that control the physical science variables used in models. Human decisions represent intentional uncertainty, which requires a separate treatment from traditional model and data uncertainty. Regulating in this environment requires a careful understanding of the limitations and capabilities of both regulators and engineers.