State-of-the Art Modeling Enables Innovation Solutions

Building and fire codes require fire safety features based on a one-size fits all approach. While traditional code compliance may be acceptable for many buildings, the codes limit design flexibility and can hinder the architectural design intent for many complex and state-of-the-art projects. Our engineers use advanced fire, egress and smoke modeling techniques for alternative or performance-based designs and forensic applications.

Fire Behavior + Impact Modeling

As part of the development team for the NIST Fire Dynamics Simulator (FDS), we have employed fire modeling with FDS to quantitatively assess fire hazards and guide fire protection design. We also regularly use heat transfer models to analyze the increase in temperatures caused by different fire conditions. With this information, we determine the adequacy of fire barriers and provide design guidance on the level or protection or thickness of a barrier necessary to meet codes.

Smoke Movement + Control

Whether it's an airport terminal, retail mall, or building containing an atrium, smoke movement and control is key to the overall building design. We use the CONTAM building airflow models to evaluate pressurization smoke control systems in high-rise buildings and FDS to evaluate large volume atrium-type spaces. Modeling helps to resolve the complex system of air flows and multiple smoke control sequences involving stair pressurization, elevator pressurization, atrium exhaust and zoned smoke control.


It's important to understand how people move in emergency events. We employ computational evacuation models that provide 3D depictions of a simulation, as well as a variety of movement and congestion data. We use this data to assess the adequacy of an egress design, examine alternative architectural design and security screening activities. We also use these models within the context of emergency preparedness to evaluate severe weather, bomb threat, active shooter and other emergency events.

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