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Transparency vs magic numbers : The development of stair design requirements in the Italian Fire Safety Code

Gissi, Emanuele; Ronchi, Enrico LU and Purser, David A. (2017) In Fire Safety Journal
Abstract

Practitioners may face difficulties in the interpretation of fire codes since they often present so called "magic numbers", i.e. numbers available in the codes which are listed for providing the design of building fire safety, for which the derivation and justification are not explained. The present paper discusses the need for a transparent regulatory approach, in which legislators publicly justify each of the choices made during the development of the fire codes. This approach has been used for the first time during the development of the Italian Fire Safety Code DM03/08/15, where the process adopted for the development of the code requirements has been publicly released in parallel with the code itself. This is deemed to facilitate... (More)

Practitioners may face difficulties in the interpretation of fire codes since they often present so called "magic numbers", i.e. numbers available in the codes which are listed for providing the design of building fire safety, for which the derivation and justification are not explained. The present paper discusses the need for a transparent regulatory approach, in which legislators publicly justify each of the choices made during the development of the fire codes. This approach has been used for the first time during the development of the Italian Fire Safety Code DM03/08/15, where the process adopted for the development of the code requirements has been publicly released in parallel with the code itself. This is deemed to facilitate the interpretation of the fire code, avoiding mis-use and preventing criticism on lack of transparency. To address this issue, the Italian legislators have conducted a process of reconstructing the assumptions adopted for the definition of magic numbers in other International codes (i.e., British Standard 9999) in order to identify suitable specifications for the national context under consideration. This includes the performance of a series of calculations rather than a mere historical examination of their basis. As a first attempt towards an increased transparency in fire code development at an International level, this paper publicly summarizes the process adopted by the Italian legislators for the development of the new Italian fire code, focusing on the exemplary case of the calculations performed for the definition of the requirements concerning stair design (i.e. vertical evacuation). This is presented by comparing the deemed-to-satisfy provisions of the Italian code with the ones given in the British Standard 9999. The process of developing fire codes is discussed together with the benefits associated with transparency in the assumptions adopted for their definition.

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Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
epub
subject
keywords
Egress, Fire code, Magic numbers, Stair design, Transparency
in
Fire Safety Journal
publisher
Elsevier
external identifiers
  • scopus:85017398892
  • wos:000407982400100
ISSN
0379-7112
DOI
10.1016/j.firesaf.2017.03.037
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
b06f54b2-3b30-4cb3-ac06-e19ab0382096
date added to LUP
2017-05-04 09:23:14
date last changed
2017-09-18 13:34:01
@article{b06f54b2-3b30-4cb3-ac06-e19ab0382096,
  abstract     = {<p>Practitioners may face difficulties in the interpretation of fire codes since they often present so called "magic numbers", i.e. numbers available in the codes which are listed for providing the design of building fire safety, for which the derivation and justification are not explained. The present paper discusses the need for a transparent regulatory approach, in which legislators publicly justify each of the choices made during the development of the fire codes. This approach has been used for the first time during the development of the Italian Fire Safety Code DM03/08/15, where the process adopted for the development of the code requirements has been publicly released in parallel with the code itself. This is deemed to facilitate the interpretation of the fire code, avoiding mis-use and preventing criticism on lack of transparency. To address this issue, the Italian legislators have conducted a process of reconstructing the assumptions adopted for the definition of magic numbers in other International codes (i.e., British Standard 9999) in order to identify suitable specifications for the national context under consideration. This includes the performance of a series of calculations rather than a mere historical examination of their basis. As a first attempt towards an increased transparency in fire code development at an International level, this paper publicly summarizes the process adopted by the Italian legislators for the development of the new Italian fire code, focusing on the exemplary case of the calculations performed for the definition of the requirements concerning stair design (i.e. vertical evacuation). This is presented by comparing the deemed-to-satisfy provisions of the Italian code with the ones given in the British Standard 9999. The process of developing fire codes is discussed together with the benefits associated with transparency in the assumptions adopted for their definition.</p>},
  author       = {Gissi, Emanuele and Ronchi, Enrico and Purser, David A.},
  issn         = {0379-7112},
  keyword      = {Egress,Fire code,Magic numbers,Stair design,Transparency},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {01},
  publisher    = {Elsevier},
  series       = {Fire Safety Journal},
  title        = {Transparency vs magic numbers : The development of stair design requirements in the Italian Fire Safety Code},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.firesaf.2017.03.037},
  year         = {2017},
}