FEMTC 2011

Using the SFPE Guidelines for Substantiating a Fire Model for a Given Application

Craig E. Hofmeister and Stephen M. Hill - Rolf Jensen & Associates, Inc.


In recent years, the use of computer fire models in fire hazard analyses has gained an increasing level of acceptance, with predictive capabilities spanning a wide variety of applications. The continual development and refinement of individual fire models has resulted in more sophisticated tools with impressive visual graphics and output. In order to be considered as an effective tool for a fire related analysis, the modeler and involved stakeholders must have confidence in the model results. There has been significant work in to verify and validate individual models; however there has been little guidance for both the model user and the reviewer/authority having jurisdiction/consumer to ensure the selected model was appropriate for the particular application. Therefore, the SFPE established a Task Group to develop and document a framework with which one can determine and document such substantiation. The resulting Engineering Guide, “Guidelines for Substantiating a Fire Model for a Given Application,” was published in early 2011. The presenters, both of whom served on the subject Task Group, will present a case study of an atrium smoke control system analysis utilizing the methodology and steps outlined in the Engineering Guide. The case study example will be based upon a three story atrium contained within a performing arts center and will consider the application of several types of fire models. The physical phenomena considered in the assessment include smoke and products of combustion transport, idealized smoke layer location and tenability under different fire scenarios. The presentation will follow the methodology and steps outlined in the Engineering Guide including:

  1. Define the Problem of Interest
  2. Select a Candidate Model
  3. Verification and Validation
  4. User Effects
  5. Documentation



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