Maze Fire Consulting can carry out analyses of the structural fire protection requirement using a wide variety of methods. The most appropriate method would be selected depending on the particular situation.
Equivalent Fire Resistance Calculations – There are methods available to use the compartment size, fire load and ventilation sizes to determine the potential severity of a fire in terms of a period within the standard fire test.
Prediction of Fire Conditions and Calculation of Heat Transfer to Structure – Maze Fire Consulting have calculation methods to predict the potential fire conditions that may occur in a fire within a particular space. From this, it is then possible to calculate the maximum temperature reached by the structure.
Finite Element Modelling – Maze Fire Consulting can use a finite element model (Vulcan) to analyse heat transfer through insulating materials such as concrete or fire protection boarding.
Full Frame Structural Fire Engineering – In typical buildings the structural engineers carry out detailed, computer-based analyses of the response of the structural frame to loads at ambient temperature. The response of the structure to a fire is then dealt with by providing insulation to the structure based on generic tables such as contained in Approved Document B. No analysis of the response of the fire to the elevated temperatures is carried out. Whilst this is the conventional approach, it leads to illogical fire protection requirements, such as the need to provide the same level of fire protection to all structural elements, irrespective of their actual location. So a column in the middle of a low-risk space such as an atrium would have the same level of fire protection as a column in the middle of a store room.
Maze Fire Consulting have separate computer software, and expert understanding of the response of structures to fires, so that we can carry out detailed analyses of the response of the structure to the elevated temperatures achieved in fires. As one simple example, it would be likely to identify that less fire protection is required in areas of low fire risk (such as in an atrium or in a reception area) compared to structure in other high risk areas such as store rooms.
The benefits are often not only in terms of direct cost saving due to reduced fire protection thickness (or in some cases elimination of fire protection requirement in certain areas), but also there can be a secondary cost saving due to the increased potential to use thin film intumescent, which can modify the construction method (e.g. allow cellular beams to permit services to pass through rather than under the beam). The reduction of the amount of products required also helps to reduce the environmental impact of the construction.