Posted on 08/03/2023 in Building & Construction Fire Safety 2023
Calculating cost-benefit of fire protection

Major international report proposes cost-benefit methodology for building fire protection measures with five case studies. The 125-page report was commissioned by the US NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) Research Foundation and carried out by Ghent University Belgium, Utah State University and Johns Hopkins University Maryland. NFPA is the recognised source of information on economic impact of fires by its periodic studies on fire losses (see e.g. pinfa Newsletter n°143). These studies identified in 2017 costing of fire losses as an area needing further research. This report is based on a literature review (40 studies identified) and analysis of the identified methods including their data needs. It develops a holistic calculation method for evaluating total benefits and costs of fire protection features in buildings. Benefits include estimates of fire loss and replacement costs. Building structure is often only around ¼ of costs, with higher economic impacts relating to building functions. Five case studies are presented, implementing this methodology for: sprinklers in single-family dwellings; sprinklers and compartmentation in warehouses; fire detection system and extra staircase in an administrative building; passive fire protection in a commercial office building; sprinklers and passive fire protection in multi-family timber building.

Further research is considered necessary in eight areas including: retrofitting of existing buildings, indirect fire costs, costs of fire injuries, environmental costs and benefits, insurance effects.

“Show me the money. A new project takes aim at quantifying the true cost of fire and the fiscal benefit of fire protection”; Birgitte Messerschmidt, NFPA Journal, Winter 2022

“Economic Impact of Fire: Cost and Impact of Fire Protection in Buildings”, R. Van Coile et al. for NFPA Research Foundation, FPRF-2022-13, August 2022

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