Fire engineering in sustainable buildings: An Evaluation for the application of Performance Based Design in Abu Dhabi

Al Hashmi, Emad (2016) Fire engineering in sustainable buildings: An Evaluation for the application of Performance Based Design in Abu Dhabi. Doctoral thesis, University of Central Lancashire.

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Sustainable Building Design and Engineering is an integrated approach to energy, health, and operational performance. Abu Dhabi, the capital of United Arab Emirates (UAE) is experiencing a phenomenal growth in built environment. In this context, the Abu Dhabi Government has taken initiatives and measures to sustainable building designs development.
This research aimed to develop a guideline for the application of performance- based fire-engineering design with sustainable building designs. In addition, it builds a referral information base helping to build sustainable communities, where fire- related fatalities and risks mitigated. Identifying fire safety and sustainability relation, and assessing technical and regulatory challenges with performance-based designs (PBD) in buildings are also part of this study. It also investigated current practices in sustainable building design and fire safety measures applied by Abu Dhabi Civil Defence (ADCD) under the existing construction legislations.
The overall results of the study addressed three main areas, namely, sustainability, fire safety, and legality of the construction industry in Abu Dhabi. The data obtained from the case studies, the questionnaire and face-to-face interviews revealed a strong element of misunderstanding regarding the accurate definition of sustainable building design in Abu Dhabi especially among the stakeholders, including the enforcers. This is by pushing towards sustainable design concepts and technologies without taking into consideration the effects on fire safety level from one side and misunderstanding of the local conditions that shape a local definition for building sustainability in Abu Dhabi hot humid climate. Second, the results relating to fire safety measures in Abu Dhabi showed that some factors in the sector of fire safety seemed to affect the accurate application of Performance- Based Design (PBD). These factors were considered as technical and administrative challenges facing the application of PBD and its safety level. Third, the existing local construction legislation and regulations do not support the application of sustainable building design in innovative designs that implementing fire engineering approach. This includes the lack of legislation, disintegration of requirements between building regulators and absence of law enforcement on building owners. The overall findings of this study showed that the application of fire engineering in the innovative sustainable design under the existing construction legislations and culture could have some serious issues to overcome before achieving accepted safety level.
In conclusion, there is a common perception that application of sustainable building design can increase fire safety risk. Innovative fire engineering applications compromises on sustainability and vice-versa. A number of similar studies in Abu Dhabi have shown reduction in fire safety on applying performance- based designs. These are challenging issues with the Governments and they are concerned with the local authorities. The building industries in Abu Dhabi need guidelines to find a trade-off between fire safety and sustainability with application of performance based designs.

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