FINDINGS FROM INVESTIGATING damage to fire protection systems in buildings after the Canterbury earthquakes were presented at the International Conference on Structures in Fire – SIF 2012 in Zurich. This is an on-going joint research project by BRANZ, the University of Canterbury and the Fire Protection Association of New Zealand.
This conference series is dedicated to structural fire safety, attracting leading academic researchers. The performance of structures in fire, a key consideration in building design, has received considerable attention following the World Trade Centre disaster in 2001.
Whole of life
Among the presentations, a paper on the analysis of whole-structure behaviour was of particular interest. BRANZ has nearly completed a research project that will provide design guidance for the New Zealand industry on the concept of whole-of-building structural design for fire.
The current approach is elemental in nature, providing individual building components with a fire resistance, but ignoring the complex structural interaction that occurs when the building structure has severe fire-induced loading. This issue was highlighted in the investigation of World Trade Centre Building 7, where an uncontrolled fire caused the entire building to collapse.
Presenting the fire risk tool
The biannual International Conference on Performance-based Codes and Fire Safety Methods in Hong Kong the top fire safety and fire protection practitioners.
Two papers from a further collaboration between the BRANZ fire research team and University of Canterbury were presented. One detailed the new B-RISK fire design tool in a plenary session, while the associated paper dealt with how B-RISK models the reliability of efficacy of fire sprinkler systems in building fires.
New Zealand is highly regarded in the fire safety engineering community, with a well developed performance-based fire design environment that is at the leading edge of international trends and developments.
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