WTC Investigators Urge Building Designers to Use Fire Protection Engineers


The building and fire safety investigators of the WorldTradeCenter disaster have recommended that fire protection engineers be included in the design team for high-risk and tall buildings.

This is one of 30 draft recommendations recently announced by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) aimed at improving the safety of tall buildings, their occupants and first responders.

NIST has no authority to implement its recommendations, but strongly urges local public officials and design professionals to adopt them in the future.

Currently, there are no requirements for building designers to employ fire protection engineers as part of a building’s design team. NIST recommends that fire protection engineers be part of the design team providing the standard of care when designing buildings that employ innovative or unusual structural and fire safety systems.

“Using science and technology, fire protection engineers analyze how buildings are used, how fires start, how fires grow, and how fire and smoke affect people, buildings and property,” said Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE) Technical Director Morgan Hurley. “Having these special skills available during the design of a building is critical to ensuring that buildings are safe in the event of fire.”

SFPE members strive to advance the knowledge and skills of fire protection engineering. The NIST report also recommends that continuing education curricula should be developed for training structural engineers, architects and fire protection engineers in modern fire protection principals and technologies.

“Tall buildings have unique features that make designing ways to keep people safe and protect property from fire more challenging,” said SFPE Engineering Program Manager Chris Jelenewicz. “Because of these unique features, it is imperative for design professionals to understand the current fire protection practices and technologies that keep people safe from fire in tall buildings.”

To help make one of the NIST recommendations a reality, SFPE is currently developing web-based distance-learning programs to train fire service, local code enforcement officials and design professionals on topics of modern fire protection engineering principals and technology.

For more information, go to .

Consulting-Specifying Engineer's Product of the Year (POY) contest is the premier award for new products in the HVAC, fire, electrical, and...
Consulting-Specifying Engineer magazine is dedicated to encouraging and recognizing the most talented young individuals...
The MEP Giants program lists the top mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection engineering firms in the United States.
How to use IPD; 2017 Commissioning Giants; CFDs and harmonic mitigation; Eight steps to determine plumbing system requirements
2017 MEP Giants; Mergers and acquisitions report; ASHRAE 62.1; LEED v4 updates and tips; Understanding overcurrent protection
Integrating electrical and HVAC for energy efficiency; Mixed-use buildings; ASHRAE 90.4; Wireless fire alarms assessment and challenges
Power system design for high-performance buildings; mitigating arc flash hazards
Transformers; Electrical system design; Selecting and sizing transformers; Grounded and ungrounded system design, Paralleling generator systems
Commissioning electrical systems; Designing emergency and standby generator systems; VFDs in high-performance buildings
As brand protection manager for Eaton’s Electrical Sector, Tom Grace oversees counterfeit awareness...
Amara Rozgus is chief editor and content manager of Consulting-Specifier Engineer magazine.
IEEE power industry experts bring their combined experience in the electrical power industry...
Michael Heinsdorf, P.E., LEED AP, CDT is an Engineering Specification Writer at ARCOM MasterSpec.
Automation Engineer; Wood Group
System Integrator; Cross Integrated Systems Group
Fire & Life Safety Engineer; Technip USA Inc.
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
click me