Development of an Integrated Risk Assessment Method to Quantify the Life Safety Risk in Buildings in Case of Fire

Abstract

An integrated probabilistic risk assessment methodology is developed for the purpose of quantifying the life safety level of people present in buildings in the context of fire safety design. Multiple risk based concepts and tools have been developed in previous research to objectify performance based design methods for simple building types and layouts. However, these available models lack an integrated approach for challenging building designs and moreover they are not adequately coupled, most often resulting in a significant computational effort. Hence, there is a need for a practical and efficient framework for dealing with complicated building layouts and different occupancy types. Therefore, a computationally efficient quantitative risk assessment method is developed that provides a framework by combining deterministic sub-models and probabilistic techniques to quantify the fire safety level by means of failure probabilities, individual and societal risk. The deterministic framework is supported by analytical and numerical models. The probabilistic framework is supported by response surface modelling, sampling techniques and limit state design. Following the theoretical description of the model, a case study of a five storey commercial shopping mall of 25,000 m2 is elaborated and discussed as proof of concept. Multiple fire, building and occupant variables are implemented in the model. Three different fire safety designs are compared, resulting in quantified risks between 10−6 and 10−8. The case study proves the validity of the newly developed integrated methodology for this type of buildings and its benefits in fire safety engineering.

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Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank the Flanders Innovation and Entrepreneurship (VLAIO) for supporting project number 130857 for this research.

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Correspondence to Bart Van Weyenberge.

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Van Weyenberge, B., Deckers, X., Caspeele, R. et al. Development of an Integrated Risk Assessment Method to Quantify the Life Safety Risk in Buildings in Case of Fire. Fire Technol 55, 1211–1242 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10694-018-0763-6

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Keywords

  • Fire safety
  • Performance based design
  • Probabilistic risk assessment
  • Life safety