As the leaders in engineering a fire safe world, SFPE is the largest membership organization for fire protection engineers throughout the globe that crosses all fire safety industry sectors. SFPE is dedicated to defining, developing, and advancing the use of engineering best practices; expanding the scientific and technical knowledge base; and educating the global fire safety community, in order to reduce fire risk. Additionally, SFPE works with standards-making bodies around the world to promote consensus-based standards that increase the effectiveness and productivity of fire safety engineering.
SFPE is an ANSI accredited standards developer and in a continuing effort to advance and improve fire safety engineering practice, SFPE develops fire protection engineering standards and engineering guides that will provide fire protection engineers access to current information and practices in today’s evolving world.
Subcommittee for Standards Oversight (SCSO)
The SCSO is the governing body within the Society that develops fire protection technical documents to advance the global fire safety profession. The SCSO, in conjunction with the SFPE Secretariat, is responsible for establishing Committees and Task Groups as defined in the SFPE Standing Rules and related policies and procedures. The SCSO has the overall responsibility for the administration of these procedures and the issuance of all SFPE Standards and Engineering Guides. The SCSO shall be responsible for:
- Approving the development of new Standards and Engineering Guides
- Appointing Committee and Task Group Chairs
- Appointing Committee members
- Acting on appeals of Committee and/or Task Group actions
- Releasing drafts of Standards and Engineering Guides for review and comment
- Issuing Standards and Engineering Guides
SFPE Is an ANSI Standards Developer
Effective August 1, 2018, the ANSI Executive Standards Council (ExSC) 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 the 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. As such, SFPE may submit its standards to ANSI for approval as American National Standards. But at the same time, as an ANSI-ASD, SFPE may also produce standards and engineering guides 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. 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.
Technical Documentation and Procedures
SFPE Engineering Guides and Standards follow these procedures:
Any person or organization may propose the development of a new Engineering Guide or Standard by sending a request to Engineering@sfpe.org, which will forward the proposal to the SCSO. The proposal should contain a proposed scope of the document and state why the document is needed.
The development of new Engineering Guides and Standards requires the approval of both the SCSO and the SFPE Board of Directors. If approved, the SCSO will assign the project to an existing or new committee or task group. The SCSO will determine if the proposed document will be an ANSI-Accredited Standard, Non-ANSI Accredited Standard, or an Engineering Guide.