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Investigation and Repair of Fire-Damaged Framing

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INSTRUCTOR: Alexander Newman, P.E., F.ASCE 

Course Length: 1.5 Hours 

Sponsored by ASCE's Structural Engineering Institute and ASCE Continuing Education.

The webinar allows the audience to see this webinar straight from my office, without having to travel. I have attended many ASCE webinars and find that ASCE knows how to put together an effective webinar.  -Anonymous Attendee

Purpose and Background

What to do with the building after a serious fire has damaged it? Is it repairable? Should it be replaced? These questions inevitably arise after each fire, but the answers depend on many circumstances, including the duration of the fire, its temperature, the degree of observed damage, etc. In some situations even the most basic of questions defies an easy answer. Is the building safe for the fire investigators to enter? Structural engineers are often called upon to help in a fire investigation or to determine the course of subsequent action, and these design professionals seek practical guidance on the topic. The knowledge base on the effects of fire on various framing types is immense, but it is often fragmented along the lines separating different materials. Little guidance is available in an easy-to-use concise and practical format.

This webinar provides just such a primer on the topic of investigation and repair of fire-damaged framing. It explains which investigation protocols are available and how fires affect various types of building structures. Starting with an overview of the post-fire condition assessment guidelines, the instructor outlines the available techniques of destructive and nondestructive evaluation, including full-scale load tests. The general approach to repair of fire damage is discussed next, the basic options being: a) accept damage as is, b) repair or replace the affected areas, or c) replace the whole structure. Several case studies from the instructor's experience illustrate the process of choosing the right option in a variety of circumstances and structural systems.

Much of the seminar time is devoted to exploring the effect of fires on structural systems of four main structural materials: wood, steel, concrete, and masonry. Each system reacts to fire differently, and the instructor explains in what ways they differ, again using real-life cases studies for illustration.

Webinar Benefits

  • Learn about the causes of fires and the differences between the cause-and-origin and fire-damage investigations
  • Discover the basic options for post-fire repair and in what circumstances each of them could be recommended
  • Find out how load testing can help determine the load capacity of fire-damaged floor and roof framing
  • Explore the building code provisions that deal with framing repairs and learn when fire-damaged framing should be upgraded for the code for new construction
  • Determine how fire affects various structural systems and materials and when visual examination might not be enough to spot serious damage
  • Study proven and practical methods of establishing structural capacities of charred wood joists
  • Learn about the complexities of using fire-retardant treated lumber to replace fire-damaged wood framing
  • Examine the effects of heat on structural steel and the practical rules of assessing the degree of fire damage in structural-steel framing and metal building systems

Intended Audience

Structural and civil engineers, architects, contractors, and building officials seeking to broaden their knowledge of investigation and repair of fire-damaged framing will benefit from this webinar.

Webinar Outline

  • Introduction
  • Fire damage investigation
  • General approach to repair of fire damage
  • Wood structures
  • Steel structures and metal building systems
  • Concrete and masonry