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Technical Areas

SFPE's Technical committees and task groups develop engineering guides, standards, and other technical initiatives of the Society. 

Technical Committee News

SFPE Seeking Chairs for Two New Technical Guide Projects

The SFPE Subcommittee for Standards Oversight has recently approved forming two new technical document task groups – SFPE Task Group on Tall Buildings and SFPE Task Group for Peer Review. The Tall Buildings Task Group will be responsible for revising the SFPE Engineering Guide to Fire Safety for Very Tall Buildings (2013) and the Task Group for Peer Review will be responsible for revising the SFPE Guide for Peer Review in the Fire Protection Design Process (2009). SFPE is currently seeking individuals who are interested in chairing each task group. If you are interested, please send your CV to SFPE Technical Director Chris Jelenewicz, P.E., FSFPE at Chris@sfpe.org. In this email also indicated the task group you are interested in chairing.

SFPE Guide to Human Behavior in Fire, 2nd Edition Coming Soon

The 2nd Edition of the SFPE Guide to Human Behavior is currently in production. The Guide will be published by Springer in both digital and hard book format. Besides updating all the good information from the 1st edition, the new version will include information on:

a)            Incapacitating Effects of Fire Effluent & Toxicity Analysis Methods

b)            Occupant Behavioral Scenarios

c)            Movement Models and Behavioral Models

d)            Egress Model Selection, Verification, and Validation

e)            Estimation of Uncertainty and Use of Safety Factors

f)            Enhancing Human Response to Emergency Notification and Messaging

More information about this guide will be published shortly on the SFPE website.

SFPE Approved as an ANSI Standards Developer

Effective August 1, 2018, the ANSI Executive Standards Council (ExSC) has approved SFPE as an ANSI Accredited Standards Developer (ANSI-ASD).   Becoming an ANSI-ASD fulfills a major strategic initiative for SFPE.

ANSI’s mission is to promote and facilitate voluntary consensus standards and maintain the integrity of the process by which consensus is developed with respect to proposed American National Standards. As such, ANSI accredits the procedures of standards developers in accordance with the ANSI Essential Requirements: Due Process Requirements for American National Standards (www.ansi.org/essentialrequirements) and approves individual standards as American National Standards. ANSI’s oversight of the ANS process includes a series of checks-and-balances, including multiple public comment opportunities – related to accreditation issues and standards development, review of evidence of procedural compliance with respect to proposed ANS, annual compliance requirements, a periodic audit and a multi-level procedural appeals process. It should be noted, ANSI does not develop standards itself. Instead, ANSI accredits ASDs that develop standards. When SFPE becomes an ANSI-ASD, it may submit their standards to ANSI for approval as American National Standards. But at the same time, as an ANSI-ASD, SFPE may also produce guides and standards that are not submitted for approval for accreditation by ANSI.

Having SFPE standards referenced in the building and fire codes is an essential SFPE strategic organizational objective. From SFPEs perspective, since ANSI-ASDs conduct their work in a manner that is open to public scrutiny that provides interested stakeholders with an opportunity to be heard, without dominance by any party, the key benefit of ANSI accreditation is the ability to more readily introduce SFPE standards into more codes and standards.

At the same time, standards developed by ANSI-ASDs set the benchmark for quality and performance that help to protect the public interest and foster commerce. By having SFPE more readily referenced in building and fire codes will reinforce the perception of SFPE as the principal global source for technical knowledge in fire safety engineering.

Currently, SFPE produces guides and standards under procedures developed by SFPE. The SFPE standards development process is not accredited by a third-party organization, although, SFPE’s requirements for appointing members and achieving balance on standards committees are intended to be consistent with ANSI guidelines. SFPE currently publishes the two standards:

• SFPE Engineering Standard on Calculating Fire Exposures to Structures (SFPE S.01)

• SFPE Engineering Standard on Calculation Methods to Predict the Thermal Performance of Structural and Fire Resistive Assemblies (SFPE S.02).

The current edition of ASCE/SEI 7 Appendix E (Performance-Based Design Procedures for Fire Effects on Structures) recommends the use of SFPE S.01 and SFPE S.02 with use of the word “should” within the commentary of Appendix E. Consequently, because ANSI accredited standards are only permitted to be referenced in the main body of ASCE/SEI 7 which provides directives with the use of the word “shall,” SFPE S.01 and SFPE S.02 will not be required to be used, but rather may be used at the discretion of the designer for a structural fire engineering analysis. When the next versions of SFPE S.01 and SFPE S.02 are published SFPE will have the opportunity to have them accredited. If this is accomplished, these standards are more likely to be referenced into the main body in future versions of ASCE/SEI 7.

Moving forward, SFPE will focus on how SFPE can leverage becoming an ANSI-ASD into developing more referenced standards that are recognized by the global fire safety engineering community.

Subcommittee for Codes & Standards Liaison (SCCSL) Submits 45 Public Inputs to NFPA Committees

The SCCSL recently submitted 45 public inputs to the following NFPA Committees: NFPA 1, 30, 99, 101, 221, 303, 307, 555 and 5000. Specifically, these pubic inputs were related to adopting SFPE technical documents into the standards, correcting out-of-date reference documents and promoting fire safety engineering methodologies. Moving forward the SCCSL will be working on submitting PIs for the Fall 2020 Code Cycle.

 

The SCCSL will be comprised of members interested in promoting the use of fire safety engineering data, tools and methods within building codes and standards. The SCCSL will be responsible for facilitating adoption of SFPE standards and guides into building regulations, codes and standards. The NFPA Working Group is focusing in NFPA Codes and Standards.

SFPE Board Endorses Subcommittee’s Recommendations on SFPE Handbook

The Subcommittee for Handbook Development (SCHD) has completed its report that overviews the Subcommittee’s review of the 5th edition. The report outlines 15 recommendations for future editions of the SFPE Handbook related to format, development and content. These recommendations were endorsed by the SFPE Board of Directors:

Format Recommendations:

1.   Provide both digital (non-eBook format) and print version of the Handbook for the Sixth Edition

2.   Review sales figures for printed copies, and complete a survey after the Sixth Edition printing to determine future demand for printed copies

3.   Further explore an eBook option after the Sixth Edition Printing

4.   Continue with the 6- to 7-year frequency, and publish as one multi-volume set at one time and consider reducing to two volumes

5.   Consider an online subscription service offering for the Handbook

6.   Suggest that Chapter Authors to submit content in LaTeX but note that submitting in Word will be acceptable

Development Role Recommendations:

7.   Appoint an Editorial Board with a remit of correlating and reviewing content between Sections

8.   Reinforce the role of the Section Editor with the following remit:

   •   Review and coordinate chapters and consolidate chapters with overlapping or
       redundant content

   •   Develop a consistent nomenclature

   •   Develop consistent equation numbering

9.   Appoint Deputy Section Editors to assist Section Editors

10.   Request that authors develop a succession plan

Content Recommendations:

11.   Request Section Editors and Deputy Section Editors conduct a review of chapter content

12.   Develop an introductory User’s Guide – this could incorporate portions of the Performance-Based Design Chapter and a discussion of how to use the book for other uses

13.   Organize an informal peer review process of the current chapters of the current Fifth Edition to provide authors and editors comments for the Sixth Edition

14.   Consider incorporating content from SFPE Engineering Practice Documents and Engineering Guides on a case-by-case basis 

15.   Content from SFPE Engineering Standards should not be considered for inclusion in the Handbook; however, content related to new methodologies that are published by a standards-making committee should be published.

The entire report can be found on the SFPE Website at: https://sfpe.site-ym.com/?page=Handbook5thEdition

New Scopes approved for New Design Fire Scenarios and Design Fires Standards

The SFPE Standards Making Committee for Design was originally tasked with drafting a standard that would include establishing criteria for design fire scenarios, design fires and acceptance criteria for a performance-based design. The Committee plans on dividing this project into three different standards. The first completed standard will be Design Fire Scenarios followed by Design Fires and Acceptance Criteria. The SFPE Board of Directors has approved the scope of work for the first two documents:

          SFPE Standard on Design Fire Scenarios

          Scope: The scope of this standard is the determination of the design fire scenarios
          to be used in performance-based design for building design for fire safety

          SFPE Standard on Design Fires

          Scope: The scope of this standard is the determination of the design fires to be
          used in conjunction with the fire scenarios in the SFPE Design Fire Scenarios
          Standard. The design fires are intended to be used in performance-based design
          for building design for fire safety.

The work for these documents will remain under the SFPE Standards Making Committee for Design Fires. The scope for the third standard on acceptance criteria is still being considered by the committee.

Subcommittee for Research & Innovation Launches Roadmap that Identifies Research Needs for the Fire Safety Engineering Profession

On Tuesday October 10 at the SFPE North America Conference and Expo in Montreal, Canada, the SFPE Subcommittee for Research and Innovation (SCRI) unveiled SFPEs research roadmap that highlights the research needs for the fire safety engineering profession. This roadmap is intended to be a living document that will be central to defining the future of SFPEs technical initiatives.  Its main focus was based on what research is needed by practicing fire safety/protection engineers. The roadmap can be found at http://c.ymcdn.com/sites/www.sfpe.org/resource/resmgr/Roadmap/SFPE_Research_Roadmap_Final.pdf. Since this is intended to be a living document, the SCRI will always be looking for your feedback on how to improve this document. Please send comments to the SFPE Technical Director at  Chris@sfpe.org.

Upcoming Technical Committee/Task Group/Working Group Meetings:

  • Monday, September 17, 2018 9am Eastern Time
    SFPE Subcommittee for Standards Oversight – Online

  • Tuesday, September 18, 2018 11am Eastern Time
    SFPE Subcommittee for Handbook Development – Online

  • Tuesday, September 18, 2018 4pm Eastern Time
    SFPE S.01 Committee Risk Working Group – Online

  • Wednesday, September 19, 2018 8am Eastern Time
    SFPE S.01 Committee Local Exposure Working Group – Online

  • Thursday, September 20, 2018 11am Eastern Time
    SFPE ICC Working Group – Online

  • Monday September 24, 2018 4pm Eastern Time
    SFPE Risk Task Group – Online

Current Technical Committees & Task groups

To view a complete list of the standards and guidelines produced by these working groups, visit the SFPE Resource library.

Technical Documentation

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