Fire Technology

, Volume 44, Issue 2, pp 167-184

First online:

An Overview of Design Fires for Building Compartments

  • Alex BwalyaAffiliated withNational Research Council of Canada, Institute for Research in Construction—Fire Research Program Email author 

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The worldwide trend of moving towards performance-based codes has brought about a need for computational tools, most of which rely on suitably-defined design fires, to adequately predict the impact of fires on buildings and their occupants. This literature review was carried out to determine the range of methods used to characterize design fires. The methods currently available were found to be largely empirical in nature and unsophisticated. The two main quantities used to describe design fires are the heat release rate (pre-flashover scenario) and temperature-time profiles (post-flashover). The most commonly used pre-flashover design fires are t 2 fires, whereas a host of empirical correlations are available for post-flashover design fires.


design fires heat release rate t 2 fire pre-flashover post-flashover