For registrants interested in volunteering on the Central Interior Branch Executive Committee, please email Natalie Linklater under the contact section.
Current engineering practice in Canada relies on prescriptive code guidelines to design structures for fire. This is based on standard fire tests that calibrate the fire protection requirements of a structural member or sub-assembly. This method does not account for the heated member's interaction with the surrounding frame, does not reflect a natural fire scenario and excludes the cooling phase of a fire. Although the prescriptive approach has been used in practice for more than 100 years, there is no systematic study on how buildings that are designed using the current guidelines will behave during a real fire scenario.
Recently, there is a momentum in North America to adopt the performance-based design philosophy for structural fire engineering. Contrary to the prescriptive approach, performance-based design for structural fire engineering involves a higher level of analysis, going beyond individual elements, applying natural fire scenarios, and considering realistic loadings and boundary conditions. Performance-based design requires compliance with performance objectives that are set by the project stakeholders. It provides flexibility in design and requires explicit demonstration of performance. In addition, the application of performance-based design can provide an opportunity for the fire engineering industry to develop an understanding of how structural systems behave under realistic fire scenarios.
Assistant Professor, UNBC
Dr. Ramla Qureshi’s research focus lies in structural resilience against extreme hazards, such as earthquakes, fires, and blasts, and includes implementation of advanced computational and experimental mechanics for evaluating the performance of structures under these severe loading conditions. She works on risk assessment and uncertainty quantification in material behavior, algorithm development and programming, large scale simulations of structural behavior, and finite element modeling of deformations under the above-mentioned loads. Dr. Qureshi is a recipient of the prestigious Fulbright Scholarship, the American Association for University Women Doctoral Fellowship, and the MDRF Research Grant. Dr. Qureshi founded Women Engineers Pakistan (WEP) in 2013; a grass-roots organization catalyzing participation and enabling retention of women in STEM fields. For her work in advancing STEM education through WEP, she was chosen as a Global Finalist for “Science Engagement Breakthrough of the Year Award” at the 2020 Falling Walls Conference, Berlin.