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SFPE Foundation releases report on Building Information Modeling and fire protection integration

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New report explores the integration of Building Information Modeling in fire safety systems

The SFPE Foundation has officially released a report titled “The Integration of Building Information Modeling with Fire Protection Systems, Software, and Workflows.”

Dated March 18, 2024, and announced in Gaithersburg, Maryland, this publication represents a significant exploration into how Building Information Modeling (BIM) can be integrated into the fire engineering sector.

Spearheaded by Stephen B. Roth, PE, the research investigates the application of BIM software and schemas for fire engineers, aiming to enhance design processes and promote wider adoption of BIM technologies in this critical field.

Findings and recommendations from the research

The report, which concludes a year of rigorous research and analysis, uncovers the potential for notable improvements in software, data management, and interoperability between various systems used by fire engineers.

Based on interviews with over 40 stakeholders, Roth recommends that manufacturers of fire protection equipment focus on designing more user-friendly Revit families.

Additionally, updates to the IFC (Industry Foundation Classes) schema are suggested to facilitate better interoperability.

The document also delves into the future prospects of BIM in fire engineering, including the adoption of artificial intelligence tools and the creation of digital twins for more effective firefighting strategies.

Supplementary User Guide and industry impact

Accompanying the main report is a User Guide that offers practical advice on overcoming common workflow challenges encountered by fire engineers when utilising FE-related software tools.

Leslie Marshall, Ph.D., Director of the SFPE Foundation, emphasised the importance of collaborative efforts within the fire engineering community to ensure BIM’s broader adoption.

Marshall stated: “This research highlights the need for the fire engineering community to align efforts and collaborate with a diverse array of stakeholders to ensure greater adoption of BIM.”

IFSJ Comment

The SFPE Foundation’s initiative to explore and advocate for the integration of Building Information Modeling (BIM) with fire protection systems marks a critical step towards the advancement of fire safety engineering.

By focusing on the interoperability between BIM tools and fire protection workflows, the foundation is laying the groundwork for a more cohesive and efficient design process.

The emphasis on collaboration and the need for practical tools, as demonstrated through the supplementary User Guide, provide valuable resources for professionals in the field.

As the industry moves towards a more digitalised future, incorporating advanced technologies like AI and digital twins, the report’s findings and recommendations serve as a crucial guide for enhancing fire protection strategies and ultimately improving safety standards across the built environment.

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