The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has sponsored research by Arup, resulting in the creation of EFFECT™, an Exterior Facade Fire Evaluation Comparison Tool to help global building owners, facility managers and authorities having jurisdiction (AHJs) proactively assess risk in their high-rise building inventory with combustible facades. Enforcement authorities and those responsible for managing large portfolios of high rise buildings have been lacking a tool to assess and prioritize remediation works.
Fires in high-rise buildings with combustible exterior wall assemblies have occurred in cities from Berlin to Las Vegas to Dubai to London. In response to concern around the world, NFPA sponsored research by Arup, a global firm of engineering consultants, designers and planners working across every aspect of today’s built environment, to develop a risk assessment methodology that enables the prioritization of mitigation work. The Fire Protection Research Foundation facilitated a detailed review of the project with input from an international panel including Jensen Hughes as peer reviewers and Thomas Bell Wright of Dubai as advisors on facade systems fire testing.
This High-Rise Buildings with Combustible Exterior Wall Assemblies research takes into account the building envelope; potential ignition sources; building characteristics; and existing fire safety measures such as means of warning, containment, and extinguishment. The result is the comprehensive prioritization tool, EFFECT.
“High-rise fires, where combustible facades are present, tend to move swiftly and can cause tremendous loss of life and property,” NFPA Director of Applied Research Birgitte Messerschmidt said. “We have seen news footage of fully engulfed high-rise buildings; and heard from concerned stakeholders looking to get out in front of facade fire and life safety problems. Arup’s thorough research allowed us to create EFFECT so that authorities can now prioritize inspection and remediation efforts in their jurisdiction.”