Performance-Based Design: Benefits Outweigh the Challenges

Marianne Foley hopes to move people beyond the “design by disaster, codify by catastrophe” approach to building codes. “I passionately believe in creating great buildings for users, for clients, and for society, and that the old approach that is prescriptive building codes does not result in the best outcomes,” says Foley, PhD, Australasian consulting sector leader for Arup. “We can — and should — do better.” The answer, she says, is performance-based design, and she is eager to share its benefits.

Foley is presenting “The Case for Performance-Based Design for Fire Safety” at SFPE International 2018, the 12th Performance-Based Codes and Fire Safety Design Methods Conference, April 23-27, 2018, in Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii.

“I have spent over 20 years doing performance-based fire engineering design across a wide range of different building and infrastructure types and scales. Several of the projects are award winning,” she says. “I want to show people the state of the art in performance-based design from a country (Australia) that has had PB design in code for 20 years, to see what benefits we have managed to achieve from having a PB code that might then be applicable for their projects and jurisdictions.”

Foley’s presentation focuses on the benefits of performance-based design, with specific case studies. As such, it’s aimed at building designers (with particular relevance for architects and sustainability consultants), fire engineers, building owners, building developers, fire authorities, and AHJs. Benefits explored include building aesthetics, sustainability, functionality, construction and maintenance cost, and improved safety outcomes.

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