Fire Technology

, Volume 51, Issue 1, pp 173–193 | Cite as

Conceptual Model Development for Holistic Building Fire Safety Performance Analysis

  • Haejun ParkEmail author
  • Brian J. Meacham
  • Nicholas A. Dembsey
  • Mark Goulthorpe


The evaluation of building performance during fires is a critical step in designing appropriate strategies. Inappropriate or incomplete performance evaluations can mislead fire safety design solutions, which may in turn result in unacceptable loss of life or building damage from fire. While various building fire safety performance evaluation models have been developed, they focus primarily on ‘hard’ characteristics, such as building construction type and fire protection measures. However, ‘soft’ characteristics, such as building design (architectural) features and occupant characteristics, which also significantly influence building fire safety performance, have not been comprehensively taken into account. In the current study, two conceptual performance models: a generic fire response model and an integrated characteristic interaction model, have been developed to represent the holistic building fire safety performance considering the effects of both hard and soft characteristics. In these models, various cause-effect relationships among building, people, and fire characteristics are identified at the different levels of detail. Based on the conceptual models, a quantitative model utilizing the parameter ranking method and weighted sum method, which are commonly used in analytical hierarchy process, is proposed as a tool to help evaluate building fire safety performance and to assist decision making process of developing fire safety design solutions.


Building fire safety Performance evaluation Holistic fire safety performance Alternative fire safety design 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Haejun Park
    • 1
    Email author
  • Brian J. Meacham
    • 1
  • Nicholas A. Dembsey
    • 1
  • Mark Goulthorpe
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Fire Protection EngineeringWorcester Polytechnic InstituteWorcesterUSA
  2. 2.Department of ArchitectureMassachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridgeUSA

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