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A building is described as a multifunctional agent of environmental change that has to achieve adequate and acceptable performance so that a safe and comfortable environment will result for any human activity. The 14 aspects of whole building performance are listed and examples of advantageous and disadvantageous interactions are offered. Fire safety performance interacts with all other aspects and is distinguished by not being part of the day-to-day environment. All fire safety problems cannot be solved by the application of conventional elements of fire safety technology, and, therefore, the performance approach to fire safety is important as more flexibility in the selection of solutions becomes possible. The identification of relative values of the components of fire safety is an important problem, and these values change according to building type. Performance profiles and levels of acceptability are discussed. Difficulties associated with the measurement of fire safety performance are discussed, and the selection of appropriate appraisal techniques is emphasized. The control of fire safety standards by governmental officials and private professionals is examined, and mention is made of the possible introduction of self-regulation for continuing fire safety standards in buildings.
building, performance, interactions, fire safety, testing, regulations, control
Senior lecturer, Unit of Fire Safety Engineering, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Scotland