Open Access Open Access  Restricted Access Subscription Access

Towards a Standard Measure of the Ability of a Structure to Resist a Natural Fire



Fire brigades face a major threat when intervening in a building in fire: the possibility of structural collapse during the cooling phase of the fire, or soon thereafter. In the current approaches to structural fire engineering, the fire resistance rating (R) is generally the only measure taken into consideration to characterize the fire performance of structural elements, although this measure does not reflect the response in real fire conditions. In this work, a standard measure is proposed to characterize the ability of structural members to resist a natural fire including the decay phases. This measure yields information about the potential occurrence of delayed failure as a function of the duration of the fire before it started to decrease, whether by self-extinction or due to the action of the fire fighters. The paper presents the method to derive this new standard measure as well as results for different typologies of structural elements. Finally, the interpretation and practical consequences are discussed, in particular regarding the safety of fire fighters during an intervention.

Full Text: