The Structural Engineer > Archive > Volume 84 (2006) > Issues > Issue 20 > Fire engineering design and post fire assessment
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Fire engineering design and post fire assessment

For some time the ‘Fire Engineering Approach’ or the ‘Fire Safety Engineering Approach’ has been adopted in Hong Kong for the design of new buildings or for the alteration and addition works in existing buildings. Such approaches enable the fire safety objectives and performance requirements of the Buildings Ordinance and its allied regulations to be met. As an alternative to the prescriptive requirements set out in the three codes of practice, namely ‘Means of Escape in Case of Fire’, ‘Means of Access for Firefighting and Rescue Purposes’ and ‘Fire Resisting Construction’, the Building Authority also accepts a fire safety engineering approach that takes into account means of escape, means of access, fire services installation, fire resisting construction, size, height, use, location, and fire safety management of the building together with suitable applications of applied science and engineering principles. Fire engineering design offers a flexible alternative where it is impracticable to comply with prescriptive provisions in the three codes, especially when designing large and complex buildings or where significant alteration and addition works are required in existing buildings. The aim of fire safety design is to provide an overall level of safety equivalent to the one that was achieved by full compliance with the prescriptive provisions of the relevant codes of practice. It also provides a framework for engineers to demonstrate that the performance requirements of legislations are met, or in some cases bettered, to compensate for the deviation or shortfalls of the prescriptive codes. This paper aims to provide an overview on fire engineering design and construction, post fire assessment and the role of structural engineers in fire engineering. Paul T. C. Pang, BEng, CEng, PEng, FIStructE, MICE, FHKIE Chairman of Structural Discipline Advisory Panel, HKIE and Founding Member of the Fire Discipline Advisory Panel, HKIE