High Rise Buildings with Combustible Exterior Wall Assembles: Fire Risk Assessment Tool

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Based on a number of recent fires in high rise buildings clad with combustible wall insulation systems, global enforcement authorities are revisiting their existing building inventories to assess potential risks. There are a number of risk factors which may impact the level of risk and the consequent priority for inspection and/or remediation.  Authorities are seeking a means to make these assessments and decisions based on them, using a risk informed methodology. Such a risk informed methodology involves: the identification of key variables (e.g., component materials, connection systems, installation techniques and geometries, occupancy type, age of application, proximity to other structures, external factors such as weather, building fire protection systems, etc.); characterization of those variables in terms of risk or mitigation potential; and incorporation of them into an engineering based risk model whose output will be a means for authorities to prioritize mitigation. Because there is limited test data or statistics to further inform a quantitative approach to risk ranking or scoring, a qualitative assessment will be utilized based on engineering judgement.

Research goal: The goal of this project is to develop and make available a risk assessment methodology to assist global authorities to assess the risks and prioritize inspection/remediation efforts for the high-rise building inventory in their jurisdiction with exterior wall assemblies containing combustible components. The methodology will be qualitative rather than quantitative and follow internationally recognized risk assessment approaches. The method will not recommend specific mitigation measures, but rather will prioritize the need for mitigation based on risk factors and provide suggestions for possible mitigation to be assessed on a project by project basis.

Download the project summary. (PDF)