The Structural Engineering Institute of the American Society of Civil Engineers and the Charles Pankow Foundation are beginning a $230,000 research project intended to advance the use of performance-based structural fire engineering.

The adoption of SFE in the U.S. is hindered by a lack of participation by structural engineers, a lack of trial designs demonstrating the potential benefits to stakeholders and a lack of familiarity with the approach by building officials, says SEI.

The research, led by structural and fire protection engineer Kevin LaMalva of Simpson Gumpertz & Heger, is intended to support the development of procedural guidance to execute an SFE design, in accordance with the new ASCE/SEI 7-16 Appendix E industry standard.

The project will employ a scientific and engineering approach to quantify the fire exposure and structural behavior of existing building designs during fire. The final document, expected by the end of October 2019, will be free for all to use.