Fire safety engineering:
Quarterly Newsletter - April 2017 Monideep Dey, PhD
This newsletter by Monideep Dey is published every quarter to inform subscribers of developments in Fire Safety Engineering (FSE), especially on topics related to conformity assessment of fire safety designs based on FSE. The principal of Deytec, Inc., Monideep Dey, PhD, served as Chairman (Convenor) of ISO TC 92 SC 4 WG 7 from 2013 to 2017 instituting significant improvements in ISO FSE standards.
Deytec, Inc. is now a company member of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), and a voting member of the International Conformity Assessment Committee which is the U.S. interface to the ISO Council Committee on Conformity Assessment (ISO CASCO). ISO CASCO writes standards and guides for the effective operation of conformity assessment bodies and activities.
Conformity assessment of FSE designs
Conformity assessments of fire safety designs based on FSE presently is a costly process with a high level of uncertainty for the applicant. Generally peer reviews of designs are conducted by the AHJ or a 3rd party that can consume considerable resources. The costs of this process has deterred the more widespread use of modern fire safety design methods.
ISO CASCO has published a wide variety of conformity assessment standards that can be used and beneficial for conformity assessment of fire safety designs based on FSE. These include standards for product and person certification. Currently, ISO/IEC 17025, 17020, and 17065 are already used for the fire certification of building product assemblies (see Intertek webinar). The same product certification standards can be used for certifying a fire safety design based on FSE, a product. The ISO standard for person certification may also be useful in the FSE process.
Application of these ISO standards and Important topics on conformity assessment of fire safety designs based on FSE will be discussed in the future, including liability issues when using free software containing disclaimers and the importance of software certification.
A unified framework for fire safety regulation
Generally, at the present building fire codes include a piecemeal approach where requirements have been continually added in response to fire events. This has resulted in a significant increase in requirements and costs for compliance with US building codes (see Baldassarra webinar). The fire codes also generally only contain a brief exemption clause for FSE designs.
A unified framework for fire safety regulation that covers both both prescriptive and performance-based fire safety design is needed for the efficient conformity assessment of FSE designs. A systematic top-down or global framework for fire safety, as opposed to piecemeal, can be used to develop schemes for use with existing ISO conformity assessment standards such as ISO/IEC 17025.
The development of schemes and conformity assessment methods in accordance with established ISO standards should lead to a reduction in costs of using FSE for fire safety design.