Project Description

Dr. John Gales
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Carleton University

Towards a Performance Based Fire Design Framework for Composite Steel Deck Construction in Canada

Traditional structural design for fire safety of composite steel deck construction in Canada is prescriptive. This design procedure relies on simplification with isolated building components being designed based on implicit fire relations. In light of advances in Europe, this design procedure can be viewed as restrictive, under-utilising of structural materials, wasteful of fire protection material, and even at times unsafe. The Performance Based Fire Design (PBFD) methodology relies on the fire and structure interface being rationally defined and understood. The current building codes for composite steel deck construction in Canada are written to allow objective / alternative based solution designs for fire safety in structures. However, there is little guidance for the practitioner on how to interpret and formulate an alternative fire design solution for composite steel deck construction. The goal of this research is to develop structural fire design guidance for the Canadian consultancy practitioner to follow for the fire safe and economical design of composite steel deck construction. The overarching objectives of the project are to: (1) explore sub-issues with current fire design methodologies in use in Canada; (2) develop, and publish alternative structural design solutions for steel frame and composite deck systems (optimization of fire spray, beam column connections, slab meshes) for use in Canada to advance best practice and competency; and (3) help establish input for an appropriate framework for Performance Based Fire Design for consideration into future codes and standards.

For a recent paper (open access version) on “Structural Fire Design for Composite Steel Deck Construction in Canada“ (Smith, M., Gales, J., Masoud, S., and Mostafaei, H.,2015), please click on the following link.



Dr. John Gales researches structural fire engineering as an Assistant Professor of Fire Safety Engineering at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. He was trained at the BRE Centre for Fire Safety Engineering at the University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom. At that institution, his doctorate was ranked as the best fire research thesis for the time frame of 2011 to 2014. His expertise is on the fire performance of structures. Current research focuses of his include: steel behaviour at elevated temperature; sustainable building systems; concrete in fire; and large-scale fire testing of composite steel deck buildings. He is recognized as an international expert in experimental high temperature testing technology. Dr. Gales is a member of the editorial board of the journal, Fire Technology, active voting member of the American Society for Testing of Materials E05 Fire Standards Committee and serves on the American Society of Civil Engineers Fire Protection Committee. In the last five years he has been an author of more than 30 peer reviewed scientific journal and conference publications relating to fire research. Current publications detail the data necessary for practitioners that permit advanced model validations for the design of structures in fire. Recently, he advised the project on Structural Fire Resistance Experimental Research – Priority Needs of U.S. Industry which was led by the Fire Protection Research Foundation. His role in this project was to recommend necessary directions needed for future research programs at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). This project subsequently fed into the NIST Fire Resistance Structures Workshop, of which he was one of the few Canadians invited to participate. This project led towards the co-authorship of a publication published in Fire Science Reviews titled; A Contemporary Review of Large-scale Non Standard Structural Fire Testing.

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