The Structural Engineer > Archive > Volume 96 (2018) > Issue 1 > Developments in structural fire protection design – a US perspective
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Developments in structural fire protection design – a US perspective

The next edition of the ASCE/SEI 7 standard commences a new and groundbreaking industry-consensus standard of care for structural fire protection in the USA, and other adopting jurisdictions. The default option is termed standard fire resistance design, and is based on a long-standing empirical indexing system that excludes consideration of realistic thermal demands and structural system response.

The only permitted alternative to standard fire resistance design is structural fire engineering (SFE), as constituted in the new Appendix E. SFE explicitly evaluates the demand and capacity of structural systems under fire loading in a similar manner as other design loads are treated in structural engineering practice.

Due to common misconceptions and lack of industry guidance, designers often erroneously intermingle these two approaches in order to justify structural fire protection variances. To combat this poor practice, recent industry efforts in the USA have focused on formally bifurcating these two design options, and providing specific requirements for the SFE approach.

Author(s): K. J. LaMalva (Simpson Gumpertz & Heger Inc)