Fire is a particularly dangerous event not only because the structural response is not fully understood, but also because it may be a primary or secondary event caused by many other hazards (e.g. earthquake, blast). The fire safety design of buildings is typically the responsibility of the architect, not the engineer. This fire design is commonly derived from standard thermal tests (not structural tests), the results of which are assembled in a catalogue-like document. The basis for fire design of steel structures is thus not based on building structural performance. The ultimate goal of our group’s work is to reduce unnecessary human and economic losses through more reliable prediction of steel building performance in fire conditions. In addition to deterministic approaches to fire design, we are developing tools for probabilistic approaches to fire design, which enables a measure of reliability and risk. A reliability performance-based approach uses a probability distribution for variables with uncertainties, such as material properties and fuel. This type of approach to fire design describes the predicted structural response in a way that enables stakeholders to make informed decisions.

Partial List of References