FEMTC 2016

Advanced Simulations For Building Design - Best Practice and Future Developments

Gabriele Vigne - JVVA


Advanced simulations are becoming a common approach for dealing with complex fire safety problems. The use of specially developed software for fire and evacuation modelling allows fire safety problems to be solved in a way that was not possible just a few decades ago.

Performing advanced simulations requires a deep knowledge of both Fire Engineering and Fire Engineering Modelling. Engineers are often responsible for the life safety analysis, and are equipped with a number of tools to aid the design process. One challenge is to understand how to use such tools, but of equal and paramount importance is understanding their limitations, and thus when their use is not appropriate.

Nowadays advanced modelling forms a natural part of a Performance Based Design approach. Common areas of practice are Evacuation modelling and Fire & Smoke modelling and often a combination of both when assessing the fire safety performance of a building. Although both the means of escape for a building and a smoke control system could be designed following prescriptive requirements, many examples exist where a performance based approach is the only way forward and advanced computer models become an essential part of the Fire Safety Design.

Safe, robust, and practical solutions that account for human behaviour as well as advanced tools that predict the fire and smoke behaviour in a building are an essential component of any building design. Designers need to provide innovative designs whilst providing safe buildings.

In particular, the paper shows a series of case studies when advanced modelling were successfully utilized, these are:

  • A large international airport
  • A major interchange station
  • An existing multipurpose building (heritage protected)
  • A large logistics centre
  • The computer models used to perform the analyses were Pathfinder and Fire Dynamics Simulator. JVVA has used such models to evaluate, optimize and design singular buildings.

The intention of this paper is to show how advanced modelling has been a vital part of the design process.


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