FSEG LOGO FIRE SAFETY ENGINEERING GROUP The Queen's Anniversary Prize 2002 The British Computer Society IT Awards 2001 The European IST Prize Winner 2003 The Guardian University Awards Winner 2014
The Faculty of Architecture, Computing & Humanities

An investigation into data sharing between Building Information Modelling and Fire Safety Engineering, with potential applications to Smart Buildings

Asim Siddiqui



Building Information Modelling (BIM) is a relatively new digital data flow standard for the whole building lifecycle in the Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) industry that suffers from existing problems such as data loss and incompatibilities on building projects. For Fire Safety Engineering (FSE) which is a safety support discipline, BIM presents an opportunity of integrated iterative design checking and support in evolving fire safety requirements during the life cycle of a building. However, the current support for FSE in BIM and vice versa has several limitations. For instance, a lack of explicit support for FSE based analysis data in BIM and only basic geometry extraction support for BIM data in some fire and evacuation modelling tools.

This study examined the key challenges in data sharing between BIM and FSE based analysis using fire and evacuation modelling tools and proposed a strategy to address them. This strategy proposed a step by step process targeting the limitations in BIM Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) Model specification, implementation of the specification in BIM design tools, and support for BIM in fire and evacuation modelling tools.

To support the strategy, development work was undertaken that included identification of the data requirements for FSE information exchange with BIM. A prototype database was then developed to capture this required data in a structured way. Based on the findings, recommendations were provided on enhancing BIM support in fire and evacuation modelling tools. A prototype system was also developed which with some limitations, successfully demonstrated data sharing between BIM and FSE using a selection of case studies. Furthermore, a conceptual design of a BIM-enabled Smart Signage Management System was presented as an example application of BIM with FSE data sharing in a Smart Building environment.

It is hoped the work presented in this study will assist in the development work for the proposed collaboration project which is currently in the initiation phase with BIM standards organisation buildingSMART, for FSE support in BIM IFC Model. If the proposal is accepted, then the proposed development work will have a direct impact on the future version of IFC specification. Moreover, it is hoped that if the recommendations presented in this study for enhancing support for BIM in fire and evacuation modelling tools are realised, the data sharing for FSE based analysis within the BIM context will significantly improve.


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