Full Session with Abstracts
Understanding how structures behave in fire has not been a traditional component of Civil Engineering Education. Furthermore, design guidelines such as those proposed by ASCE have introduced fire as an “exceptional” event thus not requiring an explicit analysis of structural performance. Fires are therefore not deemed as a “load” that can threaten global stability of a structure. This approach has led to no need to address high temperature behavior of structures within the curricula of accredited Civil Engineering programs worldwide. This is now changing worldwide, with a much clearer recognition that if structures are to be optimized, fire behavior needs to be addressed explicitly. The question is: what does a Civil Engineer need to know to be able to address the performance of a structure exposed to a fire? Starting in 2004 the University of Edinburgh developed a new curriculum for an integrated Bachelor/Masters of Structural and Fire Engineering. This curriculum was followed through an independent engineering education study that addressed the methods and approaches necessary to deliver a designer capable of establishing the performance of a structure in fire. This program has now graduated twelve generations of students that have populated many of the consultancies in Europe and have transformed Structural Fire Engineering into main stream practice. Several research papers evaluating this program have appeared together with a doctoral thesis published in 2013. A second iteration of this approach was introduced at the University of Queensland, Australia, in 2012. This new program is delivering its third generation of students and has been the subject of equal scrutiny. Both programs have been studied through a series of international think tanks by professionals from Civil and Fire Safety Engineering as well as many other related disciplines (ex. Architecture, Construction Management, Building Regulators, Fire Service, etc.) This presentation will report on the approach followed to integrate fire safety concepts into Civil Engineering curricula and the measures of proficiency that have been developed to establish the success of the educational approach.