Monday, April 6, 2009

Fire Engineering Design

Research established the new discipline of fire science and fire safety engineering (Bickerdike Allen, 1996). At the present time there exists a solid stock of knowledge on fire in and around buildings and the design principles to ensure safety. This includes knowledge of internal and external growth and spread of fire and smoke, requirements concerning the means of escape in case of fire and access and facilities for the fire service.

The essence of fire safety engineering lies in the knowledge of the movement of fire including gases and smoke created by fire. This was helped by progress in fluid dynamics and advances in the mathematics of complicated computational problems. Much of the theoretical analysis of fire behaviour has been represented by zone modelling, which incorporates modelling of heat transfer and fluid flow in different zones in premises and buildings. It is now possible to compute in advance what could happen in a fire and by using the results of the analysis, to design buildings with a predetermined safety. This must also comprise a sufficient number of safe escape routes that are accessible, clearly recognizable and usable when needed.

Fire catastrophes have often been caused by incorrect management methods, e.g. unauthorized closing of exits. Management and foresight deficiencies were the underlying causes of a major recent fire in Volendam, Netherlands with attendant high mortality. Clothing has also been the subject of intensive study to clarify the differences in ignitability of different textiles and flame spread.

The extreme importance of fire safety obliges architects thoroughly to master matters of fire safety and to allocate adequate attention to it in the architectural design of buildings.

Sebestyen, Gyula. 2003. New Architecture and Technology.

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