Integration of structural engineering into fire engineering design

Pao Yue-kong Library Electronic Theses Database

Integration of structural engineering into fire engineering design


Author: Leung, Siu-man
Title: Integration of structural engineering into fire engineering design
Degree: M.Sc.
Year: 2009
Subject: Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Building, Fireproof -- Research.
Structural analysis (Engineering)
Department: Dept. of Building Services Engineering
Pages: ix, 38, [40] leaves : ill. ; 31 cm.
InnoPac Record:
Abstract: In accordance with Building (Construction) Regulations 1990 of the Buildings Ordinance, every building shall be designed and constructed to provide adequate resistance to spread of fire and smoke, and to maintain its stability. It is widely acknowledged that fire safety design would normally provide substantial benefit over the prescriptive approach as it facilitates the designer to produce a rational design via a more in-depth and insightful visualization of the structural response of the building and building elements under fire. This would very often result with considerable savings without compromising the levels of fire safety. Additionally, where complicated building layout with super-large compartment space outside the range for a prescriptive code compliance approach are encountered, fire safety design must be adopted as the only alternative for its proper design. Particular attention is drawn to the effect of high thermal coefficient of expansion for structural steel that may lead to the loss of integrity and insulation at elevated temperature. This would result in unacceptable leaks and gaps at the compartment walls/supporting members rendering the spread of flame and smoke to the evacuation route (or the means of escape). Furthermore, the rapid loss of strength resulting from the rapid degradation of young's modulus of structural steel materials may create a problem under severe fires. Its effect on the stability of the structure should therefore be carefully studied. In Hong Kong, Fire Safety Design is traditionally carried out by Fire Safety Practitioners (FSP), who will also describe performance acceptance criteria of structure under fire. However, because they may not have sufficient and in-depth structural engineering knowledge, more sophisticated yet critical structural response at elevated temperature may be inadvertently overlooked, thus rendering the structure inadequate in resisting spread of fire and smoke, and unstable under worse fire scenario. The ability to understand the performance of building structures under fire exposure and to use fire safety design solutions rather than simply applying conventional prescriptive measures is now attracting an ever growing interest. This dissertation emphasizes the importance of integrating structural engineering into fire engineering design, and advocates a holistic fire safety design approach to bridge the gaps between the simplistic approach in assessing thermal response with the realistic assessment of structural response of the building under fire, so that Structural Engineers could understand the full complexities of the life safety and the structural safety issues pertaining to fire safety design. Finally, the dissertation would also make an attempt to provide a few suggestions for improvement in the existing procedures and practices on the basis that a Fire Engineering Approach has been adopted.

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