This project was created in 2004-2005 to capitalise on the opportunity to supervise or co-supervise student projects that would further FPInnovations’ fire research goals. During the six-year term of this project, students have made significant improvements to CUrisk, the fire risk model for wood-frame buildings developed at Carleton University. The model calculates the expected-risk-to-life presented by fire and the fire-cost-expectation over the lifetime of a building. It accounts for the probability of initiation of fire in a building, the subsequent performance of all the fire protection features in the building and the actions of occupants as they evacuate the building. The most notable improvements are summarised below:
Mathematical models have been constructed for design fires that are suitable for use in CUrisk. A design fire is one that represents a severe, but credible challenge to the fire protection features in a building. Design fires have been developed for commercial establishments (restaurants, shops, etc.), and for hotels or motels. Preliminary work has been completed for computer rooms.
Much progress had been made in modelling the performance of wood-frame floors and walls exposed to any (design) fire. When imported into CUrisk, these models can predict whether wood-frame assemblies can perform their structural and/or containment roles while occupants are evacuating from a building on fire.
Progress has also been made in modelling fire and smoke spread within a building. In the event that a wood-frame assembly fails or an internal door burns through, CUrisk predicts the advance of fire and smoke within a building.
CUrisk has been streamlined and successfully employed to undertake a fire-risk assessment of a four-storey, multi-use wood-frame building.
As taller and larger area buildings of wood construction are envisioned, it will often be the case that wood-frame construction will be replaced (or supplemented) by heavy-timber construction using glulam members. To prepare for that eventuality, much work has been done by students to model the fire performance of glulam structures and the fire performance of the connections between glulam members.