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The Use of Predictive Tools and Software in a Building Regulatory Environment



Richard W. Bukowski


The ubiquitous nature of computers in modern society has resulted in the widespread development and use of software to automate previously manual procedures. Further, advancements in the technical understanding of even highly complex phenomena such as fire have been embodied in predictive tools and models that can be used in engineering analysis of the performance of materials and systems in their context of use. The ability to predict structural and fire performance has enabled performance-based building regulation now in place or being developed in many countries.The growing use of these (often proprietary) software products in regulated environments raises a number of issues that need to be addressed to avoid legal challenges and to limit liability of regulators and standards developers. These include mandatory references to proprietary software; validation, documentation, and version control of software used in design; engineering design methods as Standards of Practice; and professional qualifications of software users. The paper also addresses the design of software to identify key assumptions that represent bounding conditions on regulatory approval and to quantify uncertainties and appropriate safety factors to be applied. The purpose of this paper is to identify these issues and to present some suggestions on how they may be addressed to meet the needs of regulators.
CIB World Congress


building regulations, fire regulations, performance regulations, standards


Bukowski, R. (2004), The Use of Predictive Tools and Software in a Building Regulatory Environment, CIB World Congress, [online], (Accessed June 22, 2024)


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Created May 7, 2004, Updated February 17, 2017