Who should be interested in Sustainable Fire Engineering ?
Sustainable Fire Engineering … The creative, person-centred and ethical Fire Engineering response, in resilient built form and
smart systems, to the concept of Sustainable Human and Social Development … the many aspects of which
must receive balanced and synchronous consideration.
- Fire Engineers, Fire Scientists, Architects & Technical Controllers
- Sustainable Building Experts & Sustainability Researchers
- Firefighters & Emergency Responders
- Politicians & Legislators
- Statisticians & Economists
- Psychologists & Sociologists
- Building & Facilities Managers
- Structural & Building Service Engineers
- Representatives of the Fire Services & AHJ’s
- Representatives of Construction Organizations
- Fire Science, Engineering & Behavioural Researchers
- Building Products & Systems Manufacturers & Suppliers
- Fire Engineering Related Computer Model & Application Developers
- Senior Policy and Decision Makers in Public / Private Client Organizations.
The Cast of Characters
Associate Professor – Fire Safety Engineering, School of Engineering, Aalto University
Borås, SwedenSenior Scientist, Fire Research Group,SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden
Worcester, Massachusetts, USA
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Managing Director, BRE (Building Research Establishment) Global Ltd.
Cleveland, Ohio, USA
Director of Training,
Cleveland Division of Fire,
IAFF-ICC Codes Representative
Operations Officer, Association of Specialist
Fire Protection (ASFP),
Secretary General, International
Council for Research & Innovation in Building & Construction (CIB)
Hong Kong SAR,
Peoples Republic of China
Psychologist & Accessibility Consultant
European Fire Sprinkler
University Lecturer at Glasgow Caledonian University
SINTEF Materials & Chemistry, Norway
Senior Surveyor, Building Standards Division,
Lecturer, Fire Risk Engineering Programme, Glasgow Caledonian University
Fire Engineer, Rushbrook Consulting Engineers
Architect – Expert on Accessibility & Disability-Inclusive European Standardization
General Manager, International Water Mist Association
Architect, Fire Engineer & Technical Controller – International Expert on Sustainability Implementation
Scottish Building Standards
Faculty of Civil Engineering
University of Zagreb,
2015-2030 UN Sustainable Development Agenda
Incorporating: 17 Sustainable Development Goals & 169 Performance Targets ;
2015 UNFCCC CoP21 Paris Agreement on Climate Change ;
2015-2030 Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction ;
Urban Resilience (The ability to function reliably during normal conditions,
to withstand, adapt to or absorb unusual disturbance, disruption or damage,
and thereafter to quickly return to an enhanced state of function) ;
‘Fire Safety for All’, including People with Activity Limitations (UN CRPD & 2001 WHO ICF) ;
2015 Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Development Financing.
Severe Natural Events – Earthquakes, Floods, Landslides, Typhoons & Tsunamis ;
Hybrid Disasters – 2011 Fukushima Nuclear Incident ;
Extreme Man-Made Events – 2001 WTC 9-11 Attack in New York & 2008 Mumbai/2015 Paris/2016 Brussels Hive Attacks ;
Complex Humanitarian Emergencies – Mass Refugee Migrations & Regional Famines.
towards zero preventable fires in the built environment
Effective Fire Safety for All in Sustainable (Green, +Energy, Smart) Buildings !
Day 1 – Thursday, 29 September 2016 – ISO Meeting – Trinity Suite II, Gresham Hotel, Dublin
Ar. C.J. Walsh & Ar. Nieves Peinado (CEAPAT-IMSERSO, Spain)
- 09:30 – 17:30
ISO TC59 SC16 WG1 – 1st Meeting of the ‘Fire Safety for All’ Task Group
Carrying forward the very positive momentum from the Dublin ‘Fire Safety for All’ Conference in April 2015 … the Fire Safety for All Task Group of ISO Technical Committee 59 Sub-Committee 16 Working Group 1 will hold an Open Informal Meeting to commence the revision and further development of the fire safety texts in International Standard ISO 21542: ‘Building Construction – Accessibility & Usability of the Built Environment’, which was published in December 2011.
This first major revision to ISO 21542 has been officially approved … and work will commence in Dublin
Proposed revisions to ISO 21542 will be uploaded onto the Fire Safety for All Website: www.fire-safety-for-all.eu … before the ISO Meeting for consideration and comment.
Please Join us ! The Attendance Fee for experts who are not members of this ISO Fire Safety Task Group will be €65.00 for the day (fee must be paid in cash on the morning,
light lunch included). Because accommodation is very limited, please e-mail us: firstname.lastname@example.org … before Thursday, 22 September 2016 … if you wish to attend.
Note Well: ‘Fire Safety for All’ is a Priority Theme of Sustainable Fire Engineering !
- 19:30 – 21:30
SFE 2016 DUBLIN Dinner
In a Japanese restaurant:
Day 2 – Friday, 30 September 2016 – Open SFE Gathering – Trinity Suite II, Gresham Hotel, Dublin
Ar. C.J. Walsh & Dr. Iain Sanderson (GCU – Scotland)
- 09:30 – 17:30
New CIB W14:’Fire Safety’ Reflection Document on Sustainable Fire Engineering
The revised, open format for Friday offers a unique opportunity to begin the challenging and most urgent task of putting in place a very necessary infrastructure for Sustainable Fire Engineering.
The New CIB Reflection Document will cover the following subjects areas and issues:
1. Conceptual Framework for Sustainable Fire Engineering (#SFE) – coherent, comprehensive and capable of adaptation/growth, with specific references to the SFE Priority Themes … and a necessary Generic SFE Terminology.
2. Strategy for Future SFE Development – identify full range of stakeholders and barriers to future progress.
3. Full & Effective Implementation of 2005 & 2008 NIST WTC 9-11 Recommendations – consider more recent patterns of terrorist threat and application beyond original ‘high-risk’ building types suggested by NIST. This is an essential prerequisite for a Reliability-Based SFE !
4. Fresh, New SFE Research Agenda – explore research which is actually needed, rather than narrow and/or questionable research which all-too-readily attracts funding.
5. Practical & Resilient Implementation of SFE Research Agenda.
A very impressive panel of international experts has been invited to forward Presentations prior to the SFE Gathering.
Please join us ! The Attendance Fee for those who do not submit a Presentation will be €65.00 for the day (fee must be paid in cash on the morning, light lunch included).
Because accommodation is very limited, please e-mail us: email@example.com … before Friday, 23 September 2016 … if you wish to attend.
Only so much can be expected from a new generation of Building & Fire Codes/Regulations … and beyond that … it comes down to Personal Ethics for policy and decision makers, as well as practitioners of all disciplines. Such an Ethical Framework does not currently exist within the International Fire Engineering Community … or the mainstream Sustainability Community.
2-3 Weeks before 30 September 2016 … the following invited Presentations … each one authoritative and informative … will be uploaded onto this Page.
- – 1 –
Fire Safety Challenges with Sustainable Buildings, Materials & Systems (PDF File, 4.60MB)
Many new residential and commercial facilities are being designed and constructed
with the objective of achieveing a Sustainable/Green Building Certificate. There are many
sustainable building features and products/systems which, on their own or together,
have been shown to have a serious adverse impact on fire safety … unless there is an ‘aware’ design approach mitigating those impacts.
Beginning with the 2012 NFPA’s Fire Protection Research Foundation Report, which
can be downloaded from our Links & Docs Page … Brian will also discuss more
recent progress in WPI’s important research.
- Prof. B. Meacham
- – 2 –
Sustainable Fire Engineering (PDF File, 1.46MB)
What is ‘Sustainable Human & Social Development’ ? How does this complex
evolving concept impact on fire engineering ? Project-Specific Fire Engineering Design Objectives. Performance Indicators. Responding to the new design language of Sustainability.
Sustainable Fire Engineering: The creative, person-centred and ethical Fire Engineering response, in resilient built form and smart systems, to the concept of Sustainable Human and Social Development … the many aspects of which must receive balanced and synchronous consideration.
Sustainable Fire Engineering Design – Targeting & MRV ! (Blog Post, dated 2014-04-20)
U.S. Implementation of NIST’s 9-11 WTC Recommendations ?!?! (Blog Post, dated 2016-05-05)
NIST’s Recommendations on the 9-11 WTC Building Collapses (Blog Post, dated 2011-10-25)
- Ar. C.J. Walsh
- – 3 –
Property Protection (Priority Theme) & Fire Suppression (PDF File, 232Kb)
A Sustainable Human Environment cannot suffer the enormous environmental
and socio-economic harm which resulted from the Tianjin Fire Disaster (PRC), during
August 2015 … or the very large number of High-Rise Façade Fires, which continue
to occur in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Existing Building Fire Safety Codes &
Standards, in most countries, are primarily concerned with building user safety –
not with property protection or firefighter safety. Alan will discuss Fire Suppression
in Buildings, and review current approaches to research.
- Alan Brinson
- – 4 –
Firefighter Safety and the Building & Fire Codes: A Necessary Partnership
(PowerPoint File, 1.03GB)
Fire fighting has been determined to be one of the most hazardous professions in our world today. There have been numerous efforts to improve the firefighter’s work environment. Many of these efforts have focused on improving conditions in the fire stations themselves. The question presented here is in part, are we improving the firefighter’s work environment or their staging area.
Firefighters operate and place themselves at risk in the built community. If we want to actually improve the work environment for the firefighter we have to ensure their work environment is properly designed, built and maintained. This is accomplished through participation in the building and fire codes. These efforts have also resulted in improvements in occupant protection as that is the number one priority of our responding firefighters.
This presentation will discuss specific processes firefighters must be involved with to ensure their work environment is properly developed. The presentation will look at recent efforts the fire service undertook in the United States to develop changes based on experiences of the attacks on 9/11. We will also discuss efforts within the codes and standards processes to address changes presented by the Green Building Movement.
The fire service has not attempted to create wholesale changes within a vacuum. Efforts have been made to work with various industries to identify solutions to the risks being presented. Some of these efforts have been successful some have not, but it is important to create dialogue and continue the discussion.
- Sean DeCrane
- – 5 –
Increased Fire-Induced Pressure in Airtight Buildings – New Risks for Evacuation &
Smoke Management (PDF File, 1.80MB)
AU Final Report – January 2017: ‘Pressure Management in Compartment Fires’ (PDF File, 3.46MB)
A few years ago … Finnish firefighters, in the City of Turku, noticed that they could not enter a burning apartment through an inward-opening door due to the high overpressure inside the apartment. In our research, we wanted to confirm this observation by making experiments in a typical apartment with three different ventilation scenarios and two different fires. The three main results were: 1) During the first minute of a rapidly developing fire, the overpressure will prevent someone from opening the inward-opening door; 2) positive pressure peak after ignition and negative peak after suppression are high enough to reverse the flows in the ventilation system; and 3) if the fraction of thermal energy that goes into gas sensible heat is large, the overpressure can break light-weight structures. In our experiment, a light-weight wall failed at 1600 Pa overpressure.
After the experiments, we validated the FDS fire simulation model for this purpose, and used it to investigate the consequences of modern building envelopes and ventilation arrangements. The results of the case studies showed that, excluding HRR, the air tightness is the most important parameter affecting the pressure rise. Roughly speaking, improving the envelope air tightness level from traditional to modern (contemporary) and further to a level required by Near-Zero Energy Buildings will increase the peak pressures by factors of two and four, respectively. The role of the ventilation system is to provide a relief path for the pressure. At the same time, however, it will act as a path for smoke spread. The principles of modern ventilation system design should be carefully reconsidered.
- Prof. Simo Hostikka
- – 6 –
Unintended Consequences of Improved Air Tightness Levels for the Operation of Pressurization Systems in Buildings (PDF File, 266Kb) Paper (PDF File, 193Kb)
A Pressure Differential System (PDS) is installed in a building as a means of preventing smoke from entering a fire protected area, e.g. a staircase used for evacuation and its adjoining areas of rescue assistance. This is achieved by maintaining a slightly higher positive pressure in the protected area compared with adjacent building spaces. In calculating the air supply needed for a PDS, assumptions are made about the protected area’s air tightness. This accidental/unintended air leakage rate can have a fundamental impact on the PDS design. Design codes also recognize that for a PDS to perform as intended, the design assumption for air leakage must remain constant over the lifetime
of the building. As a PDS is based on a ‘typical’ air infiltration rate of, for example, 5 to
10 m3/h/m2 @ 50Pa … it may not function as intended in a building with a greatly improved/much lower air tightness level.
- Jim McGonigal
- – 7 –
Advanced Fire Detection Performance Required in Sustainable/Green/+Energy/
The pattern of fire behaviour in Modern High-Performance Buildings is radically different from the conventional/legacy buildings of a generation ago. Considering not just the
safety of building occupants but the firefighters who arrive later … the science and technology of fire detection has had to continuously evolve in order to meet this new challenge. Mike will review the latest developments in fire detection … not just in housing
but in buildings generally.
- Dr. Mike Byrne
- – 8 –
Dealing with Sustainable Building Fires in Scotland
Ian will present valuable information from his Case Study of a Sustainable Building Fire which he attended as a Fire Officer in 2014. The fire, within a large new-build sustainable house, highlighted emerging issues associated with the types and composition of materials used in these modern high-performance buildings, as well as the construction methods employed. Ian also examined a number of other fires that have taken place in sustainable, or ‘eco’, buildings throughout Scotland. He interviewed Fire Officers, present at these incidents, who were able to provide first-hand witness accounts.
- Ian Anderson
- – 9 –
Sustainability, BREEAM/PassivHaus/LEED Design & Fire Safety for ALL
Research carried out in the U.S.A., Belgium, The Netherlands and Finland since 2012, and
a serious PassivHaus Apartment Fire in Köln, Germany, on the night of 5 February 2013 … have all shown that the modern home (highly insulated, airtight, packed with electronic equipment and wiring, and fast-burning synthetic furnishings, etc.) is the ‘perfect storm’ of fire conditions and outcomes. More open residential design + increased fuel loads + new construction systems and materials = faster development of fires, much reduced times to flashover, far less time for evacuation of occupants, particularly people with activity limitations … and shorter building collapse times.
Resilience: The ability to function reliably during normal conditions, to withstand,
adapt to or absorb unusual disturbance, disruption or damage, and thereafter to
quickly return to an enhanced state of function.
Valuing the Resilience Benefits of Fire Protection in Buildings (PDF File, 4.23MB)
The Building Research Establishment (BRE) is working with UK and European industry
and stakeholders to develop an understanding of the contribution of different types
of fire protection systems to the overall resilience of a building in the event of a fire.
The project is in answer to the many requests and challenges from the fire protection
industry and stakeholders for recognition of their positive benefits in BREEAM (Building
Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method), the world leading
assessment method for buildings.
This presentation will consider a range of factors such as the cost of installation of
fire protection systems in ‘commercial buildings’, the cost of the overall impact of fires
associated with those buildings, including assessment of, for example, environmental
impacts, societal impacts, property damage and business interruption.
- Dr. D. Smith
- – 10 –
Emergency Evacuation of People with Cognitive Impairments, Particularly Autism
Paper (PDF File, 190Kb)
This presentation relates to research into the Emergency Evacuation Procedures for people with cognitive impairments. The literature reviewed indicates that this is an area where little, if any, research has been carried out.
With the support of Scottish Autism (SA), the analysis of an emergency evacuation drill was carried out in various premises occupied by clients of SA. The premises included a day care facility and a residential school. Questionnaires and evacuation drills were used to gather the required data. In the most onerous situation, the evacuation of the residential facility was carried out when the lowest numbers of staff were present.
The results were critically analysed, and recommendations have been made to Scottish Autism highlighting areas of further research needed. Operational changes have also been identified.
- Kevin Day
- – 11 –
Effective Fire Evacuation Information for ALL
Learning from Japanese fire research in the 1970’s, essential components in every fire evacuation plan must be properly positioned high level signs, supplemented by low level signs, and enhanced by photoluminescent signage. People with visual impairments must be provided with continuous tactile information. People with hearing impairments must be provided with suitable strobe lighting information which will not cause stress to other building users, or induce panic attacks. Evacuation will be even more efficient if voice information is also provided.
- John Creak
- – 13 –
Inclusive, Safe, Resilient & Sustainable Architecture (PDF File, 9.73MB)
‘Accessibility’, as defined in International Standard ISO 21542, must now
always include a consideration of Safe Fire Evacuation for People With Activity
Limitations (2001 WHO ICF) to a ‘place of safety’ remote from a building on fire
and reached by means of a well-lit, accessible route.
- Ar. Jo Kwan
- – 14 –
A Theory for the Collapse of the World Trade Center Towers Paper (PDF File, 599Kb)
Two airplanes of the type Boeing 767 flew into the Twin Towers on the morning of 11
September 2001. The crashes caused fuel to ignite, and the airplanes to be cut to pieces and be buried under building debris. They were subsequently heated to a high temperature. 30 tonnes of aluminium alloys in the airplanes melted at 660 °C, while the surrounding building was heated to a much lower temperature due to insulation effects. When the temperature reached 750-800 °C, the huge amount of aluminium melt managed to stream down to the lower floors. There it came into contact with water from the automatic sprinkler system and possibly other sources. This encounter resulted in a series of fierce explosions due to the generation of hydrogen gas and local heating to high temperatures well above 1200 °C. A complete floor of each building was destroyed, with
the upper part falling onto the remaining part below, leading to complete collapse.
- Dr. C. Simensen
– 15 –
The Damaging & Destructive Environmental Impacts of Fire
Environmental Impact: Any effect caused by a given activity on the environment,
including human health, safety and welfare, flora, fauna, soil, air, water, and especially
representative samples of natural ecosystems, climate, landscape and historical
monuments or other physical structures, or the interactions among these factors; it
also includes effects on accessibility, cultural heritage or socio-economic conditions
resulting from alterations to those factors.
Development of a Fire Service Environmental & Economic Assessment Tool (PDF File, 3.10MB)
Work investigating the feasibility of developing a tool to estimate the environmental
and economic impacts of the fire service on the local community it protects.
A methodology which combines life cycle assessment, cost benefit analysis
and quantitative risk assessment is being used to produce a tool that can be used
for warehouse fires. If proven feasible, the tool will be expanded to include fires
in other types of buildings.
Dr. F. Amon
- – 16 –
The Effect of Fire on Thermally Efficient Walls Containing Polymeric Insulation (PDF File, 16.18MB)
Thermal performance requirements of new buildings have increased significantly over
the last decade; part of a dynamic programme to reduce CO2 emissions and energy consumption. A preliminary survey carried out by the author examined the type of insulation materials used in timber framed wall constructions in 2000, and in 2011. The
data provided statistical evidence demonstrating that a significant change in the type of
material used had taken place. In 2000, the dominant form of insulation was mineral
wool (78% sole material); in 2011, only 9% of construction relied solely on mineral wool, with polymeric foams accounting for 62%; 27% utilised a mix of mineral wool and polymeric. The change in construction form and insulation material, driven by the energy efficient, sustainable agenda has been rapid; fire safety developments have not kept pace
with this trend (Torero, 2010); Krause et al (2012), argue that the role of fire safety is indispensable, and forms an integral part of design.
The standard fire tests alone, on which much is based, are unable to convey important
detail on material interactions in fire. The use of untested and unsuitable material arrangements may expose building occupants and firefighters to some degree of unpredictability and non-uniformity in component behaviour. Developing our
understanding of material behaviour is key.
- – 17 –
Façade Fires in Sustainable Buildings – Bridging the Knowledge Gap Between Energy Efficiency & Fire Safety (PDF File, 2.59MB)
Building façades were always expected to be durable and provide environmental separation … but today, they must also address the priority performance target of energy efficiency
and conservation. Energy efficiency implies a significant reduction in the energy consumed by buildings, since buildings account for 40% of European Union (EU) Energy Use and 36% of EU Carbon Dioxide/CO2 Emissions. Improvement in the energy performance of buildings is primarily achieved by thermally enhanced building façades. There are several possibilities to thermally enhance a building envelope. External Thermal Insulation Composite Systems (ETICS) are the most commonly used façade systems in Europe, and beyond. ETICS
systems can, due to the type of thermal insulation materials used, facilitate the rapid development and spread of fire. Fire test results and findings will be presented on the fire performance of ETICS systems with different types of thermal insulation material, i.e. combustible, combustible with fire barriers and non-combustible, tested in a full-scale test rig in Croatia, during May 2014. Testing was carried out in accordance with British Standard BS 8414-1:2002.
- Dr. Marija Rukavina
- – 18 –
Do Unprotected Small Diameter Service Penetrations in Fire Resisting Construction Hasten Plasterboard Failure ? (PDF File, 877Kb) Paper (PDF File, 195Kb)
Building Codes/Regulations in many parts of the world generally permit small diameter services to penetrate a fire resisting wall, e.g. a gypsum plasterboard stud partition, without any fire/smoke/heat sealing. If the cavity within the stud partition increases in temperature due to these unsealed service penetrations, then the plasterboard linings will be heated from both sides simultaneously. As ‘fall-off’ of gypsum plasterboard is related to its dehydration, this will reduce the time to failure of the wall linings.
Three reduced-scale fire resistance tests were carried out on floor constructions, incorporating I-joists. A comparison was made between the unexposed face gypsum plasterboard temperatures in penetrated/unsealed and un-penetrated cavities, as well as
the cavity gas temperatures. Within the constraints of this experiment, the results indicated that the un-penetrated cavities outperformed the penetrated cavities. It is likely that the construction cavity gas temperature and gypsum plasterboard temperatures contributed to this disparity. As the fire tests were at a reduced-scale, the results are considered to be indicative rather than conclusive.
- Dr. Bill Hay
- – 19 –
Construction Quality & Product/System Specification (PDF File, 4.16MB)
Fire Safety related products and systems must perform, as originally intended, over the
full life cycle of a building. The minimum life cycle for a Sustainable Building is 100 years !
David will discuss the importance of: careful and precise product/system specification; prevention of unapproved product/system substitution before installation; the importance
of competent/independent technical control on site; and regular product/system maintenance and servicing.
- David O’Reilly
- – 20 –
Water Mist and the Sustainability Factor in Fire Protection (PDF File, 219Kb)
To use less water to suppress or extinguish fires with smaller droplets, thus less water, is an idea which is over 100 years old. It took some time and key factors, though, to develop the thought further. In 1998, when the International Water Mist Association (IWMA), was founded, water mist was still in its infancy. Nowadays, the technology is ready to use.
Alongside this development, another idea has grown: that of protecting finite resources as well as human beings and the environment. And although, more research has to be carried out when it comes to water mist and sustainability, it is more than obvious that this way of firefighting is sustainable. With water mist using less water and less power and reducing potential water damage, it is a very good option for many applications. Needless to say, that the use of this technology makes a lot of sense when it comes to sustainable buildings.
- Bettina McDowell
SFE 2016 DUBLIN Management Team
C.J. Walsh (Chair) – FireOx International
Dr. Iain Sanderson (Vice-Chair) – Glasgow Caledonian University/Fire
M.T. Carolan (Vice-Chair) – Sustainable Design International Ltd., Ireland, Italy & Turkey
Tony Kilpatrick – Glasgow Caledonian University, Scotland
Prof. Rohinton Emmanuel – Glasgow Caledonian University/Sustainability
Dr. Mark Richardson – University College Dublin, Ireland
Dr. Wim Bakens – International Council for Research & Innovation in Building & Construction (CIB)
Prof. Ronald Rovers – Zuyd University, The Netherlands.
David O’Reilly – Association of Specialist Fire Protection (ASFP), Ireland & Great Britain
Brian Bourke – Institution of Fire Engineers (IFE), Ireland & Great Britain
Tony O’Brien – Public Relations, Ireland. Phone: +353 87 2438 584 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
John Coote – Social Media & Accessible for All Websites, Ireland. Phone: +353 87 7964 955 Email: email@example.com
Dr. Noel Mitchell – Keynote PCO, Ireland