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Risk-Informed Performance-Based Design Concepts and Framework



Brian J. Meacham, Alberto Alvarez-Rodriguez


A new framework for a risk-informed performance-based approach to fire safety analysis and design has been proposed. It is structured around a paradigm in which the performance analysis is conducted relative to the performance of a building-occupant system within a broader context of the managing risk of an acute event (e.g., fire) on the chronic state of the system. The role of risk characterization, targets and vulnerabilities, direct and in-direct impacts, and approaches for assessing and mitigating the likelihood of disruptive events on the desired performance of the building-occupant system are addressed. In addition, a test-bed environment, embodied within a web-based platform, has been proposed to facilitate a common location for data and information in support of risk-informed performance-based design. A key benefit will be the ability for practitioners, students and others to interactively use building geometries, data and analysis tools to gain and share experiences in the application of the new process. To support the test-bed environment, data have been collected and made available on heat release rate curves and associated information as part of a database on design fire curves, and a selection of building geometries for use fire effects, evacuation and other modeling and analysis have been compiled.
Grant/Contract Reports (NISTGCR) - 15-1000
Report Number


buildings, evacuation, fire safety, performance-based design, risk


Meacham, B. and Alvarez-Rodriguez, A. (2015), Risk-Informed Performance-Based Design Concepts and Framework, Grant/Contract Reports (NISTGCR), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed May 29, 2024)


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Created March 31, 2015, Updated November 10, 2018