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Determining Design Fires for Design-Level and Extreme Events



Richard W. Bukowski


Proper fire safety design requires the appropriate selection of design fires against which the performance of the building is evaluated. The selection of the design fire(s) directly impacts all aspects of fire safety performance, including the structural fire resistance, compartmentation against fire spread, egress systems, manual or automatic detection systems, suppression systems, and smoke control. In a prescriptive regulatory environment design fires were implied in the required fire resistance ratings and active system requirements, as a function of use group. As performance based regulations evolved the need to assess performance against actual conditions of use became clear. The attacks on the World Trade Center of September 11, 2001 resulted in regulatory interest in understanding the potential consequences of extreme events in addition to performance against design level events. These regulatory needs have led to a number of efforts to develop consensus on design fires, characteristic fuel loads, and engineering methods to assess performance against a range of end use conditions up to extreme events. This paper will discuss ongoing activities, suggest some reasonable approaches, and hopefully serve as a roadmap for coordinating many of these activities under the auspices of CIB W14.
Proceedings Title
International Conference onf Performance-Based Codes and Fire Safety Design Methods| 6th| | SFPE
Conference Dates
June 14-16, 2006
Conference Location
Tokyo, JA
Conference Title
International Conference on Performance-Based Codes Proceedings


building codes, fire codes, fire loads, fuel loads, regulations


Bukowski, R. (2006), Determining Design Fires for Design-Level and Extreme Events, International Conference onf Performance-Based Codes and Fire Safety Design Methods| 6th| | SFPE, Tokyo, JA, [online], (Accessed June 15, 2024)


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Created June 16, 2006, Updated February 17, 2017