Evaluation of the Conceptual Framework for Performance Based Fire Engineering Design in New Zealand
Thesis DisciplineFire Engineering
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Engineering in Fire Engineering
The Department of Building and Housing is currently developing a performance framework that will, if adopted, provide a compulsory methodology for performance based fire engineering designs to prove compliance with the fire safety requirements of the New Zealand Building Code. The conceptual performance framework currently includes eight design fire scenarios, fire loads for particular building uses, and tenability criteria for the life safety of occupants. As the level of fire safety within the Code is not explicit, the Department of Building and Housing determined that the performance framework for fire should ensure buildings are designed and built to provide the same level of safety as if they complied with the current Compliance Document for New Zealand Building Code Fire Safety Clauses, C/AS1. This work analysed 12 buildings with a range of uses, which comply with the current C/AS1, using the conceptual performance framework to provide a risk comparison for life safety. Accepted, previously established calculation and modelling methods were used to test the case buildings to the performance framework. None of the buildings met the pass criteria proposed for life safety. Consequently, to comply with the performance framework, a building would be required to be designed to a higher level of safety than is currently accepted to meet code. This shows the current proposal provides a more onerous design regime for fire safety for buildings than the current C/AS1. The results of this research show the conceptual performance framework for fire safety is not ready to be included into New Zealand building regulations in its present form. Furthermore, protection from fire for primary structural members and systems, to protect against building collapse, and tenability criteria and fire fighting access for fire fighters needs to be developed and included in the framework.