Whenever regulations stand in the way of the design or use of a building, Fire Safety Engineering provides a solution. Fire Safety Engineering looks into alternatives so that the design can be realised by taking the right measures. On the one hand, Royal HaskoningDHV fire safety consultants examine whether equivalence can be shown for certain requirements of the Buildings Decree. On the other hand, they can show that the design meets the objective on the basis of a performance-based design. This results in a fire safety concept which is more in line with the risks, the design and the use of the situation. Moreover, this often results in cost savings.

Risk Management and Scenario Analysis

The risks of the design are determined on the basis of possible scenarios. A design helps to show that the risks are controlled. The chances of failure of the various layers of defence must also be taken into consideration here.

Fire Simulations and Smoke Development

By using calculation models, we can predict the effects of fires. This provides detailed insight into the development of temperatures and the spread of smoke in a building. This knowledge can be used to, for example, optimise escape routes.

Simple Calculation Models

In order to prove the equivalence of designs, the consultants use simple models to make an initial estimate. With limited efforts, a quick feasibility assessment is made before designs are completely worked out.

Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD)

Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) models provide insight into the effects of a fire. With these models, we can study the effects of various fires and the spread of smoke in great detail. This enables us to determine the thermal stress on structural members. CFD is often used to study the effectiveness of smoke control systems in car parks andatriums.

Evacuation Models

The regulations set out requirements for escape routes so that a building can quickly be evacuated, for example the minimum width ofescape routes. These theoretical criteria say nothing about an actual evacuation process. Evacuation models take account of behaviour and can, for example, accurately predict where congestion is most likely to occur and could cause panic. We use evacuation models to determine the amount of time required to evacuate a building and fire simulations to determine the amount of time people have to escape.

Thermal and Mechanical Reaction of Structures

Structures must often be made fire-resistant. Steel structures must often be painted with fire-resistant paint or clad in sheet metal. Thenecessary protection is determined on the basis of fire tests and is based on standardised conditions. Significant deviations are notpermitted. For example, large gaps in the fire-resistant sheeting are not permitted.

With dynamic thermal-structural models, we can examine in detail how structures heat up. At the same time, we can study the deformationsand thermal expansion. Additionally, we can study the fire resistance of constructional details and, for example, doors. With a detailed model, we can detect weak spots in a design.

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Daan Jansen

Senior Fire Safety Consultant & Associate Director

Eindhoven, NL

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