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    ABSTRACT: The growing need for fire safety engineering (FSE) design around the world has led to higher education degrees, many of which lack strong foundations in fundamental knowledge and are somewhat deficient in developing skills (application of knowledge) and appropriate attitudes (reflective assessment and synthesis of knowledge). This paper discusses how such programmes are delivering professionals to an FSE industry that has not yet adequately defined competence. Motivated by the need to have a new generation of leaders in FSE that can drive the field through the ongoing and necessary transition to performance-based design that it is currently experiencing, a one-week, intensive global technical leadership seminar was held at Edinburgh University, supported by The Lloyd's Register Educational Trust (LRET). The Seminar was aimed at reflecting on the content and methodology required in comprehensive university programmes capable of educating in design for fire safety in the built environment. Performance-based design for fire, in which prescriptive codes are simply a tool within a performance-based mindset, offers many important benefits but also has many acknowledged problems and risks; this paper argues that paramount among the problems is the way that we, as a global engineering profession, educate and nurture FSE professionals. It is argued that fire safety is a relatively immature discipline, thus it should be supported by holistic, purpose-centred education that places an emphasis on learning environments broadly focused on design. Technical (fundamental) knowledge is clearly critically important, but it should not be the driving force, and it should not eclipse the development of the skills and attitudes essential for the future survival of fire safety engineering as a distinct, competency-based engineering discipline.
    Full-text · Article · May 2013 · Fire Safety Journal
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    ABSTRACT: The fire-safe design of concrete structures, which incorporate post-tensioned prestressing tendons, has recently been the subject of debate within the structural engineering community, particularly when unbonded post-tensioned (UPT) prestressing tendons are used. Despite several studies aimed at furthering our understanding of the response of UPT concrete structures in fire, many aspects of their response in real fires remain poorly understood. An exhaustive summary of available test data, which have been used over the past five decades to generate fire design guidance for UPT concrete structures is given. Case studies showing the response of real UPT structures in severe building fires are also discussed. In both cases, the intent is to highlight inadequacies in the current state of knowledge for UPT buildings in fire and to prioritize areas for future research.
    Full-text · Article · May 2011 · Fire Safety Journal
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    ABSTRACT: When building fires occur in large, open compartments they rarely burn uniformly across an entire floor plate of a structure. Instead, they tend to travel, igniting fuel in their path and burning it out as they move to the next fuel package. Current structural fire design methods do not account for these types of fires. This paper applies a novel methodology for defining a family of possible heating regimes to a framed concrete structure using the concept of travelling fires. A finite-element model of a generic concrete structure is used to study the impact of the family of fires; both relative to one another and in comparison to the conventional codified temperature–time curves. It is found that travelling fires have a significant impact on the performance of the structure and that the current design approaches cannot be assumed to be conservative. Further, it is found that a travelling fire of approximately 25% of the floor plate in size is the most severe in terms of structural response. It is concluded that the new approach is simple to implement, provides more realistic fire scenarios, and is more conservative than current design methods.
    Full-text · Article · May 2011 · Engineering Structures
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