Improving fire safety of buildings by simulation in the cloud

 Fire safety of buildings is of relevance for each European citizen. Who does not want to feel save when shopping in a mall or visiting a theatre? In case of an emergency event, people have to get out of the building in a fast, streamlined but not chaotic manner, sprinklers have to be placed in the planning and construction phase so to keep fire under control or even extinct it, fire fighters have to have sufficient access routes and water supply, etc. This all should be simulated and optimized before starting the building process.

 

Challenge
Currently, fire protection analysis and design is based on scalar and prescriptive models (simple and fast approach) according to codes like CTE DB SI 6 code, Eurocode (EN 1992-1-2:2004 and EN 1993-1-2:2005). But these models do not supply detailed information about the movement of smoke and the temperature evolution. Although the usage of CFD tools would be possible, the technology is not commonly used in industry because of the hardware and software costs, the limited number of CFD specialists and the time constraints for defining the fire safety design. In the reference case, this represents approximately 30 percent of the total time for the complete building design (structural and facilities). The complete fire safety design using CFD tools must be solved in no more than three weeks in order to be competitive with prescriptive models.

The goal of this experiment is to improve fire safety designs in the building sector using CFD. Specifically this means to integrate a CFD tool called CYPE-FDS into the CloudFlow platform for detailed fire simulation scenarios focused on the building design industry. As a show case, a real shopping centre located in Spain will be used for a complete fire safety design process. The expected technical impact is an improvement of the complete workflow of the fire safety design stage, a reduction in time for the model preparation and results analysis, and higher accuracy in the prediction compared to the traditional process through leveraging the open source solver FDS.

Benefits
Cottés will profit from the user interface improvements, especially for pre- and post-processing the model. The training time for the CFD tool can be reduced significantly by providing application-specific tailored functionality. Additionally, access to HPC resources is streamlined by the workflow and does not require special know-how on the user side.
Concerning the fire safety facilities design the end users benefits from the increasing number of fire scenarios that could be simulated. Finding the optimum design is speed up by 30-40 percent due to the usage of the cloud solution because it is accessible anytime, has no idle time and runs with good stability and low risk in simulation interruption.

At the moment only 20 percent of the Fire Safety Design Projects from the end user Cottés require the usage of CFD tools. This corresponds to € 350,000 - € 400,000 per year given a total revenue of € 3.5 -4.0 Mio. Using the cloudified solution of the experiment, Cottés expects to double the number or projects resulting in a budget of approx. € 750,000 per year. Cottés is also expecting to reduce the costs of the active and passive mechanisms and gaining more probability of winning the tendering process. Today, Cottés trades only in the Spanish market, developing 20 fire safety design projects in 2016. Gaining competitiveness through the cloudified version, the number of projects could be doubled. Furthermore, Cottés customers would benefit from obtaining optimized solutions in shortened time period, with a 30-40 percent cost reduction, as an average € 80,000 per project.

Organizations involved
COTTES GROUP - Spain
CYPE SOFT, S.L. - Spain
LA MANCHA - Spain
Arctur - Slovenia