Fire Safety Engineering & Occupant Movement openBIM Standards

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This proposed project is focused on enabling the open exchange of information to provide better fire safety decisions when developing and operating buildings.

It includes the development of two Model View Definitions (MVDs) to support Occupants Movement Analysis (OMA) and Fire Safety Engineering (FSE) in the BIM IFC model. The project team which consists of multinational practitioners was formed after identifying a lack of support within the current IFC model for OMA and FSE. Regulations and building codes require a broader scope of fire safety data to support compliance by ensuring a “golden thread of information” for fire safety analysis. For emergency and non-emergency movement of occupants, it is necessary to provide support for simulation data (for emergency movement, both fire and evacuation data is required), together with the maintenance of such data as building use and requirements change over time. This project is based on the Project Activity proposal “MVD proposal for Fire Safety Engineering and Occupants Movement analysis” which was accepted by the buildingSMART in 2019.

A fire safety design for a building project may be developed either from regulation standards to satisfy prescriptive requirements or through FSE performance-based methods which can be coupled to pedestrian evacuation simulations. For each of these ways, a project-specific fire safety design is generated, for which consists a characteristic set of input information is required. The fire safety design is widely linked to other planning disciplines, hence has a high potential for information exchange within the BIM process. To realize the full benefits, the fire safety design must deliver information in the same standard regardless of the underlying development process. The focus of this project is on OMA and FSE but another project proposal with a focus on the prescriptive fulfilment of requirements is in the pipeline. This means two closely linked MVDs covering OMA and FSE, with potentially a third MVD focusing on the Prescriptive fire safety as part of another project.

There are clear benefits for fully supporting OMA and FSE in the IFC Model. These include the following:

  • Ensuring ‘the golden thread of information’ for fire safety analysis from the initial planning, design, construction and facility management as well as change of usage and/or re-development.
  • FSE, as a discipline, becomes a natural part of the digital workflow which will involve new parties into the BIM environment.
  • FSE can be used for future applications such as the ‘Smart building signage management system’ and sensor technology where a combination of Fire and Evacuation Modelling tools, BIM and Smart building technology attempt to identify the optimal fire/evacuation strategies for building occupants in response to an evolving incident.
  • Integration of OMA data offers repeatable/iterative prototyping during all building phases since it does not disrupt the data flow.

Currently, we are looking for funding to support the development of an MVD for FSE. We also seek to engage with the overlapping areas of not just the buildingSMART International Building Room, but also Airports, Tunnels and Facilities Management.

The current project team consists of people from Autodesk, accurate GmbH, Briab, IST GmbH, Technical University of Munich, University of Greenwich, VIB e.V., LAB University of Applied Sciences, and Foster + Partners and they welcome others to join the team to deliver this important, industry-changing standard.

Watch the Fire Safety/FM webinar from the buildingSMART Virtual Summit - May 2020