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Decision problem structuring for selection of fixed firefighting systems

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posted on 01.05.2015, 09:04 by Simon N. Bird
Active fire protection systems are an essential fire safety management tool, particularly in potentially high financial and risk consequence scenarios. In the UK and Europe over recent decades regulatory changes have been successful in creating an environment in which more innovation can take place. Increased numbers of fixed firefighting system types are now available to the user. However, not all systems offered are equal in terms of; suitability, cost, maturity of supporting knowledge, and overall performance or in-service reliability. Understanding of the systems performance and its limitations and how to match this to the assessed fire risk is incomplete among users. Experts are observing increasing numbers of what they consider to be poor fixed firefighting system choices leading to weaker fire safety designs, which is a cause of concern. Therefore the research aim is to verify that these concerns are founded and, that being the case, to develop a decision support system and related supporting resources to further this aspect of fire safety education and enable users to make better informed system selections. Thus, the focus of this research has been to develop a fixed firefighting system selection tool to complement existing legislation, which incorporates logic, rules and fire safety educational resources in a variety of formats to aid the fire safety design process. A variety of largely heuristic techniques have been used to aggregate data to form knowledge to underpin fixed firefighting system selection tool. In this form, the tool has been validated by experts as being a useful resource. The developed tool also provides ample opportunity for useful ongoing future development. The work recognises that cost and benefit are critical in the selection process. Supporting resources have been incorporated into the tool to assist users in evaluating the levels of reliability they might expect from a system in their circumstances. This tool has now been exposed to a wider audience of experts as part of an evaluation process. Findings include: that the tool is an innovative approach to promoting good fire safety designs, the tool efficiently provides useful fire safety education to users and the developed supporting resources which consider firefighting system reliability are helpful. This thesis and reference papers summarise the key stages of this research and tool development. The thesis concludes by outlining the progress achieved by this work and recommendations arising.





  • Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering

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  • Centre for Innovative and Collaborative Engineering (CICE)


© Simon Bird

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This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at:

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A dissertation thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of the degree Doctor of Engineering (EngD), at Loughborough University.



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Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering Theses