Quantitative Design Decision Method: Performance-Based Design Utilizing A Risk Analysis Framework
Hurd, Melinda E.
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The model building and fire codes in Canada permit prescriptive-based design and performance-based design approaches. Within this regulatory framework, prescriptive-based designs are attributed objective and functional statements to qualify the level of fire protection and life safety required. Performance-based designs, or alternative solutions to prescriptive-based designs, must be demonstrated to achieve at least an equivalent level of performance as the prescriptive requirement based on evaluation of each associated objective and functional statement. Due to the qualitative performance descriptions available, the current system for developing and reviewing alternative solutions is vulnerable to the acceptance of over-designed or under-designed life safety and fire protection measures in buildings. The objective of this thesis is to establish a method to compare the performance of alternative solutions with prescriptive design requirements on a quantitative basis. This thesis generates eight objectives for a fire risk analysis tool to address the challenges identified in the building regulatory industry. Based on review of existing techniques, a new fire risk analysis framework is developed. The Quantitative Design Decision (QDD) method, integrates risk analysis with quantitative decision assessment techniques to facilitate application-specific quantification of performance objectives and to aid evaluation of performance-based designs. The method utilizes an iterative three-stage structure. To demonstrate the application of the QDD method, a case-study simulation has been conducted. The case-study provides an evaluation of alternative designs to the prescriptive requirements for explosion-relief ventilation in rooms housing flammable vapour producing operations. The case study supports the conclusion that QDD achieves the eight objectives set out in this thesis. For validation, the QDD method must be applied to a wider variety of practical design challenges and it is recommended that the results be considered in conjunction with live fire test data to verify key aspects of the performance decisions generated. Future work should include evaluation of Delphi technique application in the Design Decision Stage of the QDD method. It is proposed that the method developed can be extended for use as a general performance-based design tool.