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Introduction to Structural Fire Engineering

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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protocol (e.g. wind tunnel testing, connection testing), structural fire resistance design is based on simple rules, outdated knowledge, and testing of limited application and compliance standards.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.


  • Darlene Rini, P.E.

    Darlene Rini, P.E. is a fire engineer in Arup's San Francisco office. She is a leading expert in the development and application of performance-based structural fire engineering design in the U.S. In addition, her portfolio spans a broad range of general fire engineering work with particular focus on large scale building projects (high rises, airports, arenas, museums, campuses), fire analysis of bridges, fire testing, and alternate methods of design. Darlene is a graduate lecturer at Cal Poly SLO and at University of Maryland College Park in Structural Fire Engineering.

  • David Barber

    David Barber is a Principal with Arup, based in Washington, D.C., where he works as a fire protection engineer. David has been involved with research and design of timber structures for fire for over 20 years, assisting with testing and development into new timber technologies, authoring fire safety design guides for construction, working with wood product suppliers and completing fire safety design for mid-rise and high-rise timber buildings. David assists architects, contractors and engineers with timber designs and is also working with timber product developers.
    David also has an interest in high-rise building evacuation and the developing role of building sustainability in fire safety and protection.David is on the Board of Directors for the Society of Fire Protection Engineers.

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June 21, 2016
Tue 12:00 PM CDT

Duration 1H 30M

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