Sustainable Fire Engineering & Fires in Buildings ?

2009-07-11:   Practical Implementation of Sustainable Human & Social Development … transforming our Human Environment by gradually improving and monitoring ‘Real’ Sustainability Performance … depends entirely on directly applying a Multi-Aspect Understanding of ‘Sustainability’, in a manner which is both balanced and equitable, to all of the many different facets of Sustainable Design.

Therefore … responding ethically and professionally, in built and/or wrought (worked) form, to the still evolving concept of Sustainable Human & Social Development …

        … the specific aim of Sustainable Fire Engineering shall be to design for Maximum Credible Fire & User Scenarios … in order to maintain a proper and satisfactory level of fire safety and protection over the full life cycle of a building.

[Sustainable Fire Engineering can be applied, equally, to other elements of the Built Environment, e.g. means of transport on land or sea.]

As discussed in a previous post … the Minimum Life Cycle of a Sustainable Building is 100 Years.  AND, to prolong Building Life Cycle and maximize Building Usability … such a building must be Flexible and Adaptable with regard to internal layout, Accessible for People with Activity Limitations (2001 WHO ICF) … and Structurally Robust.


Maximum Credible Fire Scenario:

A sequence of events during a ‘real’ fire incident in a building – related to design, construction, occupancy, fire loads, ignition sources, spatial geometry, fire protection measures (both passive and active) … and an adverse, but reasonable to anticipate, operation and management status – which culminates in fire conditions which are severe, but reasonable to anticipate over a complete building life cycle.


Maximum Credible User Scenario:

Indicates building user conditions which are also severe but reasonable to anticipate over a complete building life cycle, i.e. …

  • the Number of People Using a Building increases, on occasions which cannot be specified, to 120% of Calculated Maximum Building Capacity ;


  • 10% of People Using the Building (occupants, visitors & other users) have an Impairment (visual or hearing, physical function, psychological, mental or cognitive … with some impairments not being identifiable, e.g. anosognosia).


Sustainable Fire Engineering Strategy:

A coherent and purposeful arrangement of fire protection and fire prevention measures which is developed in order to meet specified Sustainable Fire Engineering Design Objectives.

In designing a building for conditions of fire, and its aftermath, project-specific Sustainable Fire Engineering Design Objectives typically cover the following spectrum of concerns …

  • Protection of the Health and Safety of All Building Users … including people with activity limitations, visitors to the building who may be unfamiliar with its layout, and contractors or product/service suppliers temporarily engaged in work or business transactions on the premises ;
  • Protection of Property … including the building, its contents, and adjoining or adjacent properties, from loss or damage ;
  • Protection of the Health and Safety of Firefighters, Rescue Teams and other First Response Personnel ;
  • Protection of the Natural Environment from Harm, i.e. adverse impacts ;
  • Facility, Ease and Cost of carrying out Effective Repair, Refurbishment and Reconstruction Works after the Fire ;
  • Sustainability of the Human Environment (Social, Built, Virtual, Economic … ).


Human Health:

A state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.   (World Health Organization)




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