Performance-based structural fire engineering
Submitting InstitutionUniversity of Manchester
Unit of AssessmentCivil and Construction Engineering
Summary Impact TypeTechnological
Research Subject Area(s)
Engineering: Civil Engineering
Built Environment and Design: Building
Summary of the impact
We have developed the Bailey-Method, design software FIRESOFT and a
web-based information source for designers to use to produce safe and
economical buildings. In buildings that have used the Bailey-Method,
approximately 40% of the fire protection cost has been saved. The overall
saving is about £20m in the UK over the REF period. The Bailey-Method has
been presented in 2500 design guides (books), distributed to companies
across Europe by ArcelorMittal, and translated into 17 languages. FIRESOFT
and the associated quality assurance document enable using unprotected
concrete filled tubular columns and have the British Standard status of
Non Contradictory Complementary Information.
The key researchers at Manchester are:
Professors Colin Bailey (from 2002) and Yong Wang (from 1997)
The traditional "deemed-to-satisfy" method for specifying fire protection
to steel-framed buildings is based on controlling the increase in
temperature of the steel structure and ignoring the actual structural
behaviour of the building during a fire. Our research focuses the
performance-based fire engineering design methods for steel-framed
structures. This was developed on the full understanding of the
fundamental behaviour in fire of all the main structural components and
building in its entirety, allowing the development of economical and safe
Key insights are
- Development of the theory, and design method, for tensile membrane
action (TMA) in composite slab steel beam floor systems at elevated
temperatures [1, 2]. TMA is a load-carrying mechanism mobilised at very
large deflections that enables the floor to develop a load carrying
capacity much higher than the capacity that is normally used in
structural design. Utilising TMA exploits the inherent reserve in
strength of the floor, enabling the floor to sustain the applied loads
in fire without the need for additional fire protection for up to 40% of
the steel floor beams. Our research has formed the basis of the new fire
engineering design method for multi-storey steel framed buildings 
that is often referred to as the Bailey-Method in the steel and fire
- We have proposed and validated an alternative fire resistant design
method for concrete filled steel tubular columns within buildings .
- Quantification of connection behaviour and their importance to
robustness of steel-framed structures in fire . Connections in
steel-framed structures are critical to ensuring structural survival in
fire, but connections are rarely explicitly considered in the fire
resistant design of steel structures.
References to the research
Our research is published in the most prestigious academic and
professional journals in the fields of structural engineering and fire
science. Publication  won one of the two Henry Adams diplomas for the
best research paper published in The Structural Engineer in 2010.
 Y. C. Wang, J. B. Davison, I. W. Burgess, R. J. Plank, H. X. Yu, X.H.
Dai and C. G. Bailey (2010), The safety of common steel beam/column
connections in fire, The Structural Engineer, 2 November 2010, pp. 26-35 ISSN
Other Relevant Publications
 Newman G.M., Robinson J.T. and Bailey C.G. (2006), Fire Safe design:
A New Approach to Multi-Storey Steel-Framed Buildings. SCI Publication
P288, second edition. The Steel Construction Institute, Ascot. 2006, ISBN
1 85942 169 5 (The design method is often referred to as the
Bailey-Method in the Steel and Fire Protection industries).
 Wang, Y.C. and Orton, A.H. (2008), Fire resistant design of concrete
filled tubular steel columns, The Structural Engineer, 7 October 2008, pp.
Details of the impact
Fire resistance is one of the most important safety requirements in
buildings and is covered by legislation. Until recently, designing for
structural safety in fire was predominately based on simple
"deemed-to-satisfy" prescriptive methods presented in supporting documents
to the UK Regulations. Following such prescriptive rules adds 20 to 40%
unnecessary fire protection cost to steel-framed buildings. Since the
majority (over 70%) of multi-storey buildings in the UK are constructed
using steel-framed structures the unnecessary cost in terms of materials
and labour is significant within the built environment.
Our experimental and theoretical research, leading to the Bailey-Method,
enabled the construction industry to finally address the use of
unnecessary protection costs ensuring that protection to the structure is
only applied to areas where it is needed. In addition, our research has
led to a further design method for concrete filled tubular sections, where
protection is safely eliminated altogether.
Pathways to Impact
Our research has been presented at leading conferences, at professional
seminars, dedicated CPD courses and published in leading journals. We have
developed practical design guides and software to promote the methods
based on our research.
We developed the One-Stop-Shop dedicated web-site to Structural Fire
to promote performance-based methods to practical designers. This website
was developed by Manchester with contributions from DTi (now TSB), TATA
Steel, The Concrete Centre, Pilkington, Arup, and Buro-Happold. It offers
authoritative and impartial advice together with training materials,
attracting over 590,000 visitors within the REF period.
Reach and Significance of the Impact
a) Bailey-Method. The method has been implemented by a number of
organisations, for example:
i) ArcelorMittal has presented the Bailey-Method in a number of design
guides with 2500 copies distributed to companies in over 20 countries and
incorporated it into their MACS+ design software which is available in 17
languages. The method was deployed in: the: BOBST building (Switzerland,
2010); ArcelorMittal Steel Centre (Belgium, 2008); EVS Building (Belgium,
2008); Geric Commercial Centre in France (2013); and the BNP Bank Tower in
France (2013) [A].
Other companies have used the Bailey-Method on projects between 2008 and
2013 including West Cheshire College Ellesmere Port (2008) saving £35k,
Aquinas College Stockport (2008) saving £40k, and Derby Riverlights (2009)
saving £65k [B].
Our survey of some of the UK's over 30 specialist Structural Fire
Engineering consultants indicates they use the Bailey-Method on about two
projects each year. The typical saving per building is £60k [C]. This
gives a total saving of over £20m over the REF period [D]. Prof Bailey has
provided expert input to following iconic buildings in London
(2008-2013,): The Shard; The Pinnacle; Heron Tower; Leadenhall; 8-10
Moorgate; and 35 Basinghall Street; [E] [F]
b) Design of concrete filled tubular sections using our software
Our fire resistant design method for concrete filled tubular sections has
been implemented in the FIRESOFT software package that we have developed
for TATA Steel. This software has been released to the general structural
engineering design profession. FIRESOFT software and the associated
quality assurance document have the British Standard status of Non
Contradictory Complementary Information in the UK [G]. This software has
recently been used by TATA Steel Tubes in the design of Broadgate Exchange
in London (2012) and Bervis Marks in London (2012). [H]
International reach and significance
Bailey continues to be retained as an Expert Witness investigating the
collapse of World Trade Centre building 7, a 47-storey building that
collapsed on September 11th 2001 following the collapse of WTC1 and WTC2
due to impact by airplanes. [I].
Bailey was the principal author of a Concrete Centre design guide on
"Performance of Concrete Structures in Fire" (Bailey, C.G. and Khoury,
G.A., ISBN 9781904818830).
Wang has been invited to join the British Standards Institution Committee
B/525/4 and to represent the UK in the Eurocode Fire Safety of Composite
Structures Evolution Group that oversees the development of the next
generation of Eurocodes [J].
Sources to corroborate the impact
[A] Letter from the Director of ArcelorMittal summarising the design
guides, books and ArcelorMittal design software based on the Bailey-Method
together with the building projects that have used the method.
[B] Report from Dr Athanasios Melandinos, Senior Engineer at Capita
Symonds outlining the projects (including cost savings) where the
Bailey-Method has been used.
[C Letter from the British Constructional Steelwork Association
summarising the importance and impact of the Bailey-Method to the
construction industry, including the cost savings achieved.
[D] Report detailing method of estimating the savings from using the
Bailey-Method over the REF period, using external sources.
[E] Published article `A new icon pierces the capital skyline'
outlining the design of The Shard in London and involvement by Bailey.
[F] Letter from the City of London (District Surveyor) outlining the
projects where the Bailey-Method has been used and the projects where
Bailey has acted as an expert reviewer.
[G] Copy of SCI (Steel Construction Institute) advisory desk note AD375
confirming British Standard NCCI (Non Contradictory Complementary
Information) status of FIRESOFT, the program developed by Wang for the
design of concrete filled tubular columns, and the associated quality
[H] Letter from TATA steel confirming the projects where they have used
[I] Copy of title page and declaration of the Expert Report of Colin
Bailey under F.R.C.P 26(e)(2) for the investigation into the collapse of
World Trade Centre 7.
[J] Email from Associate Director Advanced Technology and Research, ARUP,
Chair of British Standards Institute Committee BSI/525/4, confirming that
Wang will represent the UK in the Eurocode Fire Safety of Composite
Structures Evolution Group that oversees the development of the next
generation of Eurocodes.