Operational resilience is an increasingly important topic in today's discussions about building design, asset management, and business continuity. This is a trend that will not disappear as a changing environment and growing urbanization continue to increase the importance of designing for extreme events, whether they are malicious, accidental, or environmental in nature. The research presented herein will analyze how performance-based fire design can be used during the design of a building to enable operational resilience within it. By proactively and quantitatively determining the performance of a structural solution for a range of realistic design fires, the public can understand the implications of the fire for their tenant space and ultimately for the operation of their business. A methodology will be proposed for developing a range of criteria, in concert with the expected users of the building, to understand the required performance of the building. This can be quantified as immediate occupancy, short-term disruption, and long-term/permanent disruption. This is a novel approach to fire safety design that varies from what is typically seen in Canadian practice where a deterministic set of design fires seek to capture the worst case structural and life safety scenario. The overall aim of this approach is to lay out specific levels of performance for ranges of design fires so that the users of the building can appropriately prepare response plans for different fire events and remain operational following a fire. This methodology will be demonstrated through a case study of a realistic Canadian building design that has performance levels quantified for a realistic design fire to feed into a business continuity plan. The end result is a more sustainable building which enables operational resilience within it, and the approach can be extrapolated to all hazards affecting infrastructure.

6th International Conference on Engineering Mechanics and Materials 2017
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Smith, M. (Matthew), & Gales, J. (2017). Operational resilience and performance-based fire design. In 6th International Conference on Engineering Mechanics and Materials 2017 (pp. 707–716).