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Assessment of the Technological Requirements for the Realization of Performance-Based Fire Safety Design in the United States. Final Report.


pdf icon Assessment of the Technological Requirements for the Realization of Performance-Based Fire Safety Design in the United States. Final Report. (4188 K)
Meacham, B. J.

NIST GCR 98-763; 48 p. November 1998.

Sponsor:

National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD

Available from:

National Technical Information Service (NTIS), Technology Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, Springfield, VA 22161.
Telephone: 1-800-553-6847 or 703-605-6000;
Fax: 703-605-6900.
Website: http://www.ntis.gov

Keywords:

building codes; computer models; fire codes; fire protection engineering; fire safety; fire safety evaluation system; histories; International Standards Org.; life safety code; NFPA 101; performance based codes; risk analysis

Abstract:

Performance-based fire safety design methods are being used or developed in many parts of the world. The bases of several of these methods are the many fire engineering tools and methods developed in the United States. Unfortunately, these tools and methodologies are not being widely applied within the United States. There are many reasons for this, including the lack of performance-based fire and building codes in general use, and, where there are such codes or regulations, the lack of documentation on the availability and application of credible fire protection engineering tools and methodologies for fire safety design. To help assess the technological requirements for realization of performance-based fire safety design in the United States, the Society of Fire Protecion Engineers, under a grant from the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Building and Fire Research Laboratory, conducted a research effort during the period September 1995 through August 1998. During Phase 1 of the effort, the intent of a performance-based approach to fire safety analysis and design has been identified, performance-based approaches to fire safety analysis and design from around the world were identified and evaluated for applicability in the United States, and a framework for a performance-based approach to fire safety analysis and design for use in the United States was outlined. During Phase 2 of this effort, a focus group was convened to discuss concepts of a performance-based building regulatory system for the United States, including the role of engineering tools and methodologies in a performance-based system, and support was provided for the evaluation of engineering tools and for the development of engineering practice documents. During Phase 3 of this effort, the development of an engineering guide on performance-based fire protection analysis and design was begun, continued support was provided for the evaluation of engineering tools and for the development of engineering practice documents, and issues related to risk and uncertainty in performance-based fire safety design environment were investigated. This report summarizes the activities of this three-year effort, and outlines future efforts required for widespread realization of performance-based fire safety design in the United States.