Fire Safety Design for Tall Buildings

Report Date: September 2013

There has been a surge in tall high-rise buildings constructed around the world over the last decade. However, there has been little updated guidance on fire safety design to accompany this construction and much of the fire engineering practice is out-of-date. This paper provides a survey of tall building fire investigations and highlights the critical elements of a global fire safety strategy for tall buildings. A key feature to be updated is fire safety design for the modern open-plan compartments. Understanding high-rise building design and evacuation is important to both fire safety design and firefighting in buildings. The details of the experiments and results were presented in the Asia-Oceania Symposium on Fire Science and Technology.

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  • University of Edinburgh, BRE Centre for Fire Safety Engineering

    The University of Edinburgh has been an important institution in the field of Fire Safety Engineering for four decades. The BRE Centre for Fire Safety Engineering is part of the Institute for Infrastructure and Environment, School of Engineering at The University of Edinburgh. 

    We are a world-class research fire centre with 40 research members from more than 18 different nationalities.The BRE Centre for Fire Safety Engineering exists to:

    • Equip tomorrow's leaders in the field with the skills they require
    • Support today's fire safety with multidisciplinary research
    • Provide first-class education in Fire Safety Engineering and Stuctural Fire Engineering
    • Deliver fire safety consultancy services to industry and other consultancies
    • Disseminate information about advances and research in fire safety engineering through courses, symposia and publications
  • University of Queensland, School of Civil Engineering

    The School of Civil Engineering at The University of Queensland is renowned for civil engineering teaching and research in water, environmental, geotechnical, structural and transportation engineering.

  • Astute Fire Ltd.

    Established in 2010, Astute Fire Ltd is an energetic, dynamic and knowledge based fire engineering consultancy specialising in the development of robust fire safety solutions for all types of building and client. We are a fully independent consultancy with staff who have a reputation for having developed and successfully implemented some truly unique fire safety solutions on some of the worlds most iconic buildings.

    What sets us apart from other fire engineers is our client focussed nature, our technical skill set, our creativity, our passion for good architecture and our desire to provide a highly professional service on time and within budget.

    All of our staff are Chartered engineers with post-graduate qualifications in Fire Safety Engineering. With this in mind we provide exceptional technical competence with our level of client service setting the industry benchmark. This is evident by our high percentage of repeat business and referrals.

Cowlard, Adam, Adam Bittern, Cecilia Abecassis-Empis, and José Torero. Fire Safety Design for Tall Buildings. The 9th Asia-Oceania Symposium on Fire Science and Technology, 2013.

© 2013 International Association for Fire Safety Science.  

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (

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