A new ISO standard for fire safety engineering should help to save lives, reduce costs due to fire damage and bring substantial economic savings through improved fire safety design.

ISO 23932:2009, Fire safety engineering – General principles, provides general principles for a performance-based methodology for engineers to assess the level of fire safety for new or existing built environments.

Fire safety is evaluated through an approach based on risk assessment and on knowledge of the behaviour of fire and of people and the consequences of such behaviour on human safety, property and the environment.

The standard provides an overview of how fire safety engineering analyses and assessments are conducted, with links to more specific standards, including those already published or under development.

The basic principles in this International Standard are covering any phenomena associated with fire (including fire growth, hot gases and movement of effluents, structural and compartmentation behaviour) to reach any related fire-safety objectives including:

  • Safety of life
  • Conservation of property
  • Continuity of operations
  • Protection of the environment
  • Preservation of heritage.

Furthermore, these basic principles can be applied to all configurations of the built environment – building, transportation systems and industrial installations.

The document is primarily targeted at fire safety scientists and engineers who participate in, are affected by, or need to understand better the context of the standards developed by ISO Technical Committee ISO/TC 92, Fire safety, Subcommittee SC 4, Fire safety engineering; it is also very valuable for practicing fire engineers.

Joël Kruppa, Chair of ISO TC 92/SC 4, comments: "Our goal is to provide fire safety engineering documents for supporting performance-based design to:

  • Develop engineering design and evaluation methods for verifying appropriate fire safety objectives are achieved
  • Contribute to sustainable development with a more appropriate approach than prescriptive regulation
  • Standardize necessary verification and validation of calculation models, or other assessment methods
  • Elaborate guidance documents for best engineering practice."

SC 4 supplements the wide scope of ISO/TC 92 and reflects the growing importance of the professional discipline of fire safety engineering, which is applicable to most situations where a fire may occur. Its work concerns safety, health and environmental issues.

ISO 23932:2009, Fire safety engineering – General principles, was developed by ISO/TC 92/SC 4, Fire safety engineering, and is available from ISO national member institutes (see the complete list with contact details). It may also be obtained directly from the ISO Central Secretariat, price 92 Swiss francs, through the ISO Store or by contacting the Marketing & Communication department (see right-hand column).