Regent Fire Consultants

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Computational Fluid Dynamics

Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) modelling is a tool used in fire applications which enables computer simulation of fluid flow and heat transfer. Engineers are able to gain an understanding of likely conditions through analysis of fundamental phenomena such as heat transfer, smoke movement, radiation, gas temperature and ventilation.

CFD in Fire Safety Design

Before the emergence of CFD simulation, practical problems with building design (outside code-compliant design) were addressed with hand calculations and basic zone modelling. Hand calculations only provide a numerical reference with regards to the spread of smoke and heat from fires and in the case of zone modelling, a very simple computational representation of performance in a given design. 

There has been a significant increase in recent times of performance-based building design. As the boundaries of what is possible with architectural design and building geometry, as well as operational use of buildings are pushed further, hand calculations are not always appropriate or possible. 

This has led to the need for Designers, Fire Safety Engineers and Approving Authorities to evaluate aspects of building design by adopting CFD analysis. 

With the use of advanced CFD modelling simulations, as well as evacuation modelling programs, we are able to demonstrate effective solutions that provide an appropriate level of safety within a given design, whilst providing other significant benefits to the design.

Commercial and Residential CFD Applications

Experienced in both Commercial and Residential design projects, our team of engineers are familiar with issues faced in a wide variety of project settings that require a fire engineered approach. Whatever the project requirements, we can help to keep your project on budget through the utilisation of advanced techniques such as CFD. These are some of the advantages CFD modelling can bring to a project: 

  • Quantitative and qualitative assessment of a given scenario 
  • Provides a more accurate assessment of the severity of fire and the likely impact to life and structure 
  • Estimates how fire protection and engineering systems are influenced
  • Improves the effectiveness of evacuation procedures and the safety of building occupants 
  • Informs fire barrier and structural fire engineering assessments 
  • Financial savings

Independent Review of CFD Analysis

Not only is our strength in the development of CFD models, we also have extensive experience in reviewing CFD analysis undertaken by other Fire Safety Engineering practices. 

Regent Fire Consultants are often called upon to provide an independent review of CFD analysis for Building Control (Local Authority and Approved Inspectors) and Fire and Rescue Services. These Approving Authorities often don’t have the expertise within the organisation to be able to competently review CFD modelling. 

We have a proven track record of reviewing CFD modelling and strategies as part of the Building Regulations approval process, where we have supported Building Control and Fire and Rescue Services. We have also carried out independent review for Fire Safety Engineering practices, Architectural practices and Responsible Persons of large and complex buildings. 

As part of our independent review, Regent Fire Consultants will review the following: 

  • Suitability of methods used 
  • Suitability of the modelling when applied to the analysis of conditions for means of escape and firefighting 
  • Input parameters and any assumptions
  • Output results 
  • CFD analysis report 
  • Fire strategy report and interaction with the CFD analysis 

Some of the project types we have provided independent review of CFD analysis for include: 

  • Warehouse and Industrial buildings with extended travel distances and firefighter hose distances 
  • Analysis of structural fire resistance and compartmentation requirements
  • External fire spread analysis 
  • Smoke control system design 
  • Extended travel distances in corridors of residential flats buildings
  • Analysis of strategies for the protection of escape staircases 
  • Shopping mall and car park smoke control systems

Forensic Reconstruction using CFD

CFD modelling is being increasingly used by fire investigators and engineers to reconstruct fire scenarios and assist with the investigation of fires. Some of the key benefits of CFD modelling in supporting post fire incident investigation are to: 

  • Understand the speed of smoke spread and the temperature created in fires 
  • Determine the energy / heat release produced 
  • Determine the toxicity levels from toxic gas species 
  • Determine how fire growth can be influenced by different ventilation conditions 
  • Inform court proceedings 
  • Aid with resolving litigation issues 
  • Inform advances in fire safety guidance 
  • Inform advances in technology 

By utilising CFD modelling (and evacuation modelling where required) we are able to support fire investigation by reconstructing fire scenarios. 

Take a look at the video below ‘CFD model of fire spread through smoke shaft’ to review a case study of one of our fire reconstruction projects.


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