2023-2024 / GCIV2042-2

Fire safety engineering


18h Th, 18h Pr

Number of credits

 Master of Science (MSc) in Civil Engineering3 crédits 


Jean-Marc Franssen



Language(s) of instruction

English language

Organisation and examination

Teaching in the first semester, review in January


Schedule online

Units courses prerequisite and corequisite

Prerequisite or corequisite units are presented within each program

Learning unit contents

The aim of this course is to give students an understanding of the design methods for structures subjected to the fire action. The course is articulated around four key objectives:
(i) Understanding the fundamentals of fire and fire safety. The course covers basics of fire physics, the effects of fire on materials and structures and the multidisciplinary aspects involved in fire safety.
(ii) Evaluating the development of fires in buildings. The course discusses the state-of-the-art methods for prediction of fire scenario, evaluation of fire load and calculation of gas temperatures in a fire compartment. Models of different levels of sophistication are described for fire modelling including nominal temperature curves, analytical localized fire models and advanced computational models.
(iii) Evaluating the fire resistance of structures. The course discusses the state-of-the-art methods for addressing the response of structural elements and entire structures to fire. These include analytical methods, numerical methods (FEM software SAFIR) and experimental methods (fire lab). The course covers the prediction of temperature of the structural elements and the structural design to achieve fire resistance, for elements made of different materials (steel, concrete, timber) and subject to various effects of actions (tension, compression and bending moment).
(iv) Achieving fire resistance in real projects. The course mobilizes the techniques and knowledge gained in the previous parts to analyze how structural fire resistance can be achieved in real projects, in an economic and sustainable way. Attention is paid to various methods of protection of structures to fire as well as on performance-based design taking advantage of, for instance, tensile membrane action. Examples are presented from the experience of the teaching team as consultants.

Learning outcomes of the learning unit

At the end of this class, the student will be able to design a building taking into account the fire loading scenario. She/He will have the tools that allow ensuring a safe design, not only in accordance with code prescriptions, but also with innovative concepts that can allow significant cost savings compared to traditional approaches. 

More globally, the student will acquire some knowledge of the fire physics and the fire safety engineering field, as well as improve its knowledge in the field of structural mechanics.

The complete list of KLO's/AA for this course is defined in the matrix that can be found at: https://www.programmes.uliege.be/cocoon/20182019/formations/descr/A2UCON01.html

This course contributes to the learning outcomes I.1, I.2, III.1, III.2, III.3, III.4, IV.1, IV.3, IV.4, VI.1 of the MSc in civil engineering.

Prerequisite knowledge and skills

Good understanding of strength of materials and of structural mechanics is required. Basic knowledge on the behaviour of structures made of steel, concrete and timber is required.

Planned learning activities and teaching methods

Frontal lectures will be given for the theorerical part.
Tutorials will be organized for the practical part, where exercices are either demonstrated to the students or to be done by them, about the design of structural elements subjected to fire.

Mode of delivery (face to face, distance learning, hybrid learning)

Face-to-face course

Additional information:

The course is given face to face, depending on the evolution of the COVID situation.

Recommended or required readings

Reference to interesting books or literature papers will be given during the lectures.
To prepare the exam, the students will have a copy of all the PowerPoint presentations used for the lectures through MyULiege.

40% for the written exam, organised at the end of the course, consisting in practical questions (exercices based on the tutorials).
60% for the oral Examination, organised at the end of the course, on the topics covered during the lectures.

Work placement(s)

Organisational remarks and main changes to the course

The course will be during the first semester.
The course will be given in English


Jean-Marc Franssen
+32 499 388 444 jm.franssen@uliege.be 

Association of one or more MOOCs

Items online

0 Presentation of SAFIR
General introduction to the software SAFIR

Presentation of the course
Organisational aspects of the course

1b Reaction to fire
WHat is reaction to fire? What is the classification system? 

1c Compartment fire
How does a fire develop in a compartment?

1d Effects of fire on structures
The main effects of fire on structures

1e Multidisciplinary aspects of FSE
1e Multidisciplinary aspects of FSE

2 Fire models
Some models to quantify the fire

3a Load combinations
3a Load combinations

3b determination by tests
Détermination of the fire resistance by tests

3d Evaluation by calculation
3d Evaluation by calculation

4c Tensile membrane action
4c Tensile membrane action

List of questions for the exam 2021/2022
List of questions for the exam 2021/2022