At the onset of a project, a building code review allows us to work with the design team to identify aspects of their vision that may not be immediately code compliant, and where opportunities for innovation exist. Our designs are then developed and quantified using smoke and fire modelling, evacuation modelling, and structural fire engineering. We use the latest software where complex models are required to demonstrate performance, and we invest heavily in linking these analytical tools to our BIM to make this process efficient.
We offer Fire Engineering services in a range of buildings types and sectors.
We determine smoke movement and temperature development within building environments using equations, zone models, and computational fluid dynamics. Fire modelling enables us to determine temperatures to use in structural fire design, quantify tenability that informs egress design, and assess or design smoke control systems.
By applying first-principles knowledge about how people behave during fire scenarios and how they will interact with their surroundings, we design intelligent egress routes for buildings. Where exact travel distances from the prescriptive clauses of the code are forcing a design decision, tools such as evacuation modelling can be used to demonstrate the performance of an egress design and propose an alternative solution.
We approach the fire design of timber buildings from a holistic perspective, combining structural fire engineering, egress design, and fire modelling to demonstrate that complex timber buildings are safe. Our analytical approach to fire safety in timber buildings adds strength to alternative solutions in jurisdictions where the timber building is beyond code limits.
Structural Fire Engineering
We perform structural calculations to demonstrate load-carrying capacity during fire scenarios with reduced or eliminated fire protection, in both new and existing buildings. We perform analyses of critical structural members to demonstrate stability and progressive collapse mitigation for fire events, including key structural elements. Our experience can also be applied to prescriptive fire protection strategies to ensure the most efficient assemblies are used to improve economy and constructability.
Investigation & Forensics
Despite best efforts during design, construction, and operation, fires still occur. Entuitive has experience with the investigation and repair of structures damaged by fire, ranging from small, existing parking garages to multimillion-dollar P3 projects under construction. Our emphasis is on efficiently assessing the scope of structural repair required and ensuring the building can be back in service as quickly as possible. We work with contractors, insurance representatives, and inspection and testing agencies to get the client to the finish line.
What Makes Fire Engineering Different at Entuitive?
Our Fire Engineering team always works with performance in mind. Building codes offer fire safety solutions for conventional buildings and provide a critical baseline for a safe design. However, they are also historical documents that can limit opportunities for innovation, architectural expression, and economy.
By understanding the first principles of fire behaviour and how those have informed current code requirements, we employ a performance-based engineering approach that goes beyond the building code requirements and explores advanced engineering solutions to help realize our client’s vision.
We do this by using advanced technology to anticipate realistic fire events and demonstrate how a building’s performance goals can be met. Our custom-built software links fire modelling and evacuation modelling tools to BIM, allowing this process to occur in the design phase to quantify how various fire safety options perform and the difference in cost and user experience.
Traditionally, these advanced models have been cost intensive and only developed near the end of design, when many key decisions have already been made and opportunities for optimization have narrowed. In close consultation with the project team, we develop specific performance criteria tailored to the end user’s need, whether that is to simply meet the performance of the building code, or to go above and beyond the basic criteria for businesses whose livelihood is dependent on fire protection.
The advantages of this performance-based approach are the following:
- Innovative architectural systems.
- Not bound by conventional prescriptive clauses.
- Optimization of fire protection.
- Reduced cost and shortened schedule without compromising performance. Increased building resilience.
- An engineered, first-principles approach to fire safety.