Evacuation Timing Computations Using Different Evacuation Models
Thesis DisciplineFire Engineering
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Engineering in Fire Engineering
In New Zealand, a new method of specific design, Verification Method 2 (C/VM2) has been proposed to be used for fire safety compliance. Previous researchers have investigated different fire parameters and their applications. However, there is a lack of research effort in evacuation calculations and in this research the author uses three different types of evacuation software to calculate the evacuation timings for four different buildings. These buildings include a cinema complex, a four-storey office building, a two-storey restaurant and a sport and recreation complex. Furthermore, this work conducts evacuation analyses to test the applicability of these evacuation tools. Simulex, FDS+Evac and EvacuatioNZ are the evacuation software used and the simulation results are compared with the hydraulic model recommended by C/VM2. Through careful analyses of the escape routes, the hydraulic model can be used to obtain evacuation times in a short timeframe. This calculation can be concise for a simple geometry, but lengthy for complex buildings. However, the hand calculation method has been found to be unsuitable in certain applications, for example buildings with specific seating arrangements, different occupant groups etc. FDS+Evac, in general, generates comparable evacuation times compared to the hydraulic model. As FDS+Evac has a good user interface, one can study the evacuation process easily. However, the computation time for one simulation can be relatively longer than with the other software tools. It was found that this tool is good for complex evacuation situations where a merging or counter-flow situation arises. Simulex, in general, generates faster evacuation times compared to the hydraulic model. Nevertheless, the computation time to complete one run is not too long and the evacuation process can be observed during and after the simulation. Finally, it was discovered that Simulex is not designed for counter-flow evacuation scenarios. EvacuatioNZ generates significantly longer evacuation timings in highly-congested evacuation scenarios, although for single spaces it has comparable results to hydraulic model. Some future work is required before this evacuation tool can be used as a design tool.