Fire and Explosion Engineering


Fire and Explosion Engineering

The principles of Fire and Explosion Safety Engineering were introduced in UK with the standard DD240-1 “Fire Safety Engineering in Buildings. Guide to the application of fire safety engineering principles” of 1997. This standard has evolved over the years until its replacement by the first edition of BS 7974 in 2001. The latest version of BS 7974 is the 2019 edition, supported by the Published Documents PD 7974 series.

According to BS 7974, the definition of fire engineering is “the application of scientific and engineering principles to the protection of people, property and the environment”.

Efectis started implementing those fire engineering principles in the 90’s with the introduction of new numerical tools used in combination with experimental approaches undertaken within Efectis fire laboratories and already established analytical methods.

In a performance-based approach, Fire Safety Engineering is used to verify and justify that the fire safety measures, as identified within the fire strategy, are appropriate to achieve the required fire safety objectives set out by the relevant authorities, standards and guidelines.

Efectis covers all fire safety technical topics, such as fire and smoke spread, fire structural behaviour, compartmentation, smoke control and ventilation, fire suppression systems, external fire spread, evacuation, environmental protection from industrial sites, fire brigade access and facilities, wildfires etc.

Efectis is able to analyse the performance of products, systems or buildings within the legislative framework, and to carry out third-party reviews, based on our longstanding strengths which include, but not limited to:

Efectis is able to assist with strategic advice and review of applicable legislation by developing  tailored fire safety solutions. Our work is based on a commitment to help clients and communities and provide them with a responsive approach to solve their fire safety challenges.

fire safety design

Buildings and infrastructure must be designed to provide an acceptable level of fire safety and minimize the risk in the event of a fire. 

The main objective of fire safety design is the protection of life, including occupants’ safety and firefighters’ access. In addition, there are other objectives to consider, including but not limited to:

  • Protection of property
  • Environmental protection
  • Continuity of operations

To achieve these objectives, Efectis can provide you with the skills and expertise throughout your project, from concept and design to construction and occupation. Our advice may include, but not limited to:

  • Regulatory compliance
  • The fire performance of materials
  • Fire behaviour of structures
  • Fire detection and suppression
  • Smoke control according to the tenability conditions (toxicity, opacity, temperature and radiation)
  • Evacuation, modelling of movement and means of escape
  • Tailored fire safety design to enhance safety and ensure cost reduction
Fire Strategy

Fire strategy is a comprehensive method to achieve the fire safety objectives for an existing or a new building. It provides a clear and detailed roadmap for fire safety planning, implementation, and management by complying with relevant fire safety regulations and standards.

The  development of a fire strategy may span from initial concept design to construction stage of a building or development. However, in many cases a retrospective fire strategy is required when changes are made to existing buildings or missing information are for older constructions. The earlier the process initiates, the more efficiently confusions and mistakes can be eliminated.

In UK for example, a fire strategy report is produced by following guidance in accordance with Approved Document B on fire safety. Depending on the complexity of the building and the fire safety objectives agreed, alternative approaches may be used such as BS 9999 or a fire engineered approach as per BS 7974.

Mandated under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 for all businesses, a FSR reviews all aspects of the building’s fire safety features. It is specifically tailored to a building, dealing with the Schedule B requirements of the Building Regulations in the UK, namely:

  • B1: Means of warning and escape
  • B2: Internal fire spread (linings)
  • B3: Internal fire spread (structure)
  • B4: External fire spread
  • B5: Access and facilities for the fire service

A fire strategy report is not only a typical requirement for all businesses but also a crucial document for life safety in the built environment sector. By analysing potential fire spread and structure failure modes, it may also be used as valuable input for the implementation of assets and property protection as well as for business continuity in the event of a fire.

Fire strategies should be developed only by competent persons with comprehensive training and relevant experience. Efectis fire engineers have substantial experience in developing fire strategy reports or reviewing others as external 3rd parties in projects. and work to achieve clients’ objectives and requirements. Whether a new, a retrospective or just a 3rd party review fire strategy report is needed for your new or existing development, our team may provide suitable and tailored-fit solutions accordingly. It is therefore highly recommended to contact and engage with our fire engineering team at the earliest opportunity.

Structural fire engineering

Structural fire engineering design is the calculated design of a structure to withstand the thermal load effects of fire, which have the potential to alter the integrity of a structure, based on specific performance criteria. It is important that every structure, whether it is steel, concrete, timber or other, is designed to meet adequate performance and withstand fire exposure, thereby ensuring the safety of occupants and minimizing property damage.

Efectis is able to apply fire engineering principles for the structural fire behaviour of different structures, assessing building collapse modes, taking into account their building functions (storage, industrial, residential) or their different types of structure (steel, concrete, timber, aluminium or any composite ones).

Efectis has gained experience in assessing the fire structural performance of various structures through the testing laboratories using standard and ad-hoc tests at different scales. In addition, we can combine analytical methods and guidance (Eurocode) with Finite Element Analysis (FEA) utilizing computational models to simulate the thermal and structural behaviour of elements under fire conditions. Well-recognized modelling tools such as SAFIR, ANSYS, LENAS, DIANA are used by Efectis in most cases.

Validation and verification of the softwares is performed by Efectis on theoretical and experimental cases which provides comfort to clients and authorities for the use of software by Efectis fire engineers. Structural fire engineering is essential for creating safe, resilient, and compliant buildings that can withstand the destructive effects of fire. By integrating fire safety into the structural design process, our engineers can ensure that buildings not only meet regulatory requirements but also provide the highest level of protection for occupants, property, and the environment.

CFD modelling

Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) modelling is a widely used tool in fire safety engineering. It is commonly used as an analysis tool, as it has the ability to handle complex geometries and fire characteristics. Through our knowledge and experience, we can provide you with answers by creating a virtual copy of your construction, simulating several scenarios of potential risks in order to make your building more secure in the event of a fire.

Several internationally-used softwares are used by Efectis engineers in order to address challenges with regards to fire and smoke spread and structural behaviour under fire conditions. Tools used include FDS (fire and smoke development) or FLACS , SAFIR, ANSYS, LENAS, DIANA (structural fire behaviour), LS-DYNA, etc.

Efectis has a large database of fire development scenarios based on experimental data with which the validation and verification required for any specific case may provide comfort and ensure the authorities and our clients for the optimal solution. Increased capabilities are offered by Efectis as we are able to evaluate any CFD modelling with testing (small scales or large scales) in Efectis fire testing laboratories across Europe.

fire safety research

Fire safety research is one of the main focus areas of Efectis, investing in research activities for significant areas of work through internal allocation of funds. In addition, Efectis contributes in fire safety research through the participation in various research projects funded by:

  • Governments and governmental agencies
  • Private organizations and professional associations
  • Industry partnerships
  • Academic institutions
  • International organizations

Currently, Efectis contributes in the development of fire safety in UK through a professional consortium with partners from industry and academy funded by the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) focusing in the following areas:

  • CPD 0040120205 Fire Safety Balconies, Spandrels, and Glazing,
  • CPD 004121050 Research – Fire Safety Smoke and Toxicity,
  • CPD 004121103 Means of Escape in Residential Buildings,
  • CPD 004121108 Fire Safety Classification of External Wall Systems

Efectis is leading or contributing in several European Projects of the European Commission such as:

  • New European fire test for façade (RISE, BAM, Efectis, EMI, Unievrsity of Liège)
  • SI2.830108 –EU firestat- closing gaps and paving the way for pan-European fire safety efforts (Efectis, EuroFSA, CFS-CTIF, BAM,DBI, NFPA, Lund university, University of Edinburg, VFDB)

Efectis has research contribution to the evaluation of various PFP systems when exposed to the fire, e.g. jet fire, among which are:

Efectis has also an extensive research contribution in the experimental and numerical investigation of Grenfell Tower fire, i.e.

  • Reconstruction of Grenfell Tower fire. Part 1: Lessons from observations and determination of work hypotheses (
  • Reconstruction of Grenfell Tower fire. Part 2: A numerical investigation of the fire propagation and behaviour from the initial apartment to the façade (
  • Reconstruction of Grenfell Tower fire. Part 3 – Numerical simulation of the Grenfell Tower disaster: Contribution to the understanding of the fire propagation and behaviour during the vertical fire spread (
  • Reconstruction of the Grenfell Tower fire – Part 4: Contribution to the understanding of fire propagation and behaviour during horizontal fire spread (
  • Reconstruction of the Grenfell Tower Fire – Thermomechanical Analysis of Window Failure During the Grenfell Tower Disaster (

Fire risk assessment is an organised look at what, in your work activities and workplace, could cause harm to people from fire. It will help to determine the chances of a fire occurring and the dangers from fire that the workplace poses for the people who use it.

Its purpose is to determine whether existing fire precautions are adequate and reasonable relative to the overall risks presented or if it requires reduction via control measures. The harm potential from a fire hazard depends on the potential for development of a fire originating from the hazard and then the potential consequences in terms of life and/or property loss.

Determining the potential for harm requires the assessor to make a judgement on the possible outcome of the hazard. The potential for ignition is the first consideration, but thought must also be given to the number of times the situation could occur and the factors that could cause it to occur, e.g. the competence of people involved, environmental conditions and the condition of equipment.

The potential for development will be affected by a number of factors such as the length of time the fire could burn before it is detected and how long before the fire threatens the means of escape. Other factors, such as building construction (combustible materials and/or lack of compartmentation) and contents (combustible and/or flammable materials which will provide fuel) will also impact on this.

Efectis staff may carry out FRAs for different buildings and developments, addressing findings and measures to reduce and manage risks from fire. 

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