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Structural fire engineering both
internationally and within the U.S. is still a relatively small, specialty
field that lies somewhere between the structural engineering and fire
engineering practices. While most service (e.g. gravity) and environmental
loads (e.g. wind, snow, seismic) are quantified through analytical and/or
experimental studies to assess performance of a structure for design purposes,
thermal loading as a result of fire is still widely based on prescriptive
requirements with no quantification. For most structural load cases, building
codes and design approaches are regularly updated and enhanced based on the
best available scientific and technical knowledge; however, for fire load cases
little to no change has been seen in U.S. building codes despite the
availability of technical data, design guides and research on the topic.
Even for tall and unusual buildings where it is quite commonplace for complex
analytical models and testing protocol (e.g. wind tunnel testing, connection
testing), structural fire resistance design is based on simple rules, outdated
knowledge, and testing of limited application and compliance standards.
This webinar provides background on the development of structural fire
engineering within the U.S., in particular, discussing some of the historical
context, prescriptive limitations and performance based structural fire
engineering methods readily available for design purposes. The webinar will
also present a case study to show what is possible when fire is treated as a
design load in structural engineering.