Research and Development - Briab

Research and Development

The right side of risk

Briab’s investment in research and development ensures continual innovation and an understanding of risk in a changing society. By way of new knowledge, we develop processes and services that help our clients to manage the threats and opportunities of tomorrow.

R&D at Briab is a link between theory and practice. Between new understanding and practical application. With our background and networks in academia, and our focus on innovation and on truly taking the industry forward, we have a unique opportunity to question and re-evaluate established methods and ways of working. And to add new knowledge.

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Risk changes constantly

Change will never be as slow as today. This may seem strange – but it’s actually exciting and promising. It makes us question what we know, what’s possible and what’s not. But what we know for sure is that risk and uncertainty are a part of change, and that it’s our duty to be one step ahead, and to understand our customers’ reality and the challenges they face.

A young science

Fire safety engineering and risk management are both young sciences where there is still a huge need of research and development. For an industrial manufacturer, this can be a matter of adapting a product or solution to applicable legislation, and presenting proof that it meets this legislation. For a municipality, it can be about finding a way to deal with risks, and how to take these into consideration in urban planning. There is a huge demand for applied research, as a bridge between university-based research and various social stakeholders’ need for practical applications. This drives us forward, every day.

Our research and development areas

At Briab we are always in an R&D phase, which means we are always looking for answers and insights. Below is a selection of the fields where, on our own or together with others, are leveraging our R&D work, to invest in the future.

Research:

Problems with the building legislation system:

  • Designs similar to Grenfell Tower have been identified in Sweden by way of Briab’s questionnaire.
  • The follow-up of the building legislation system and check system is lacking and must be re-worked. Methods exist but are not followed.
  • Quality assurance must be improved at every stage, to ensure adequate fire protection.

In the project HOLIFAS (a holistic approach to fire safety requirements and design of façade systems), we will study the UK and Swedish building legislation and check systems, with reference to the UK investigation into the Grenfell Tower fire. The first part of the study will concern technical requirements for facades and the second part will concern the system perspective. The second part, led by us at Briab, will be a comparative analysis, to determine whether there are similar problems in Sweden. This part will include Brian Meacham, the foremost international researcher in fire protection and system issues. The project will be conducted in collaboration with Lund University, the Swedish Universities of the Built Environment, RISE, and others. Funding is provided by Brandforsk.

Work is expected to be completed and presented in June 2019, six months before the committee for updated building legislation submits its proposals for a new Swedish system for building legislation and control system.

Fires in large premises

  • Dimensioning of load-bearing capacity of large buildings, during fires.
  • Methods for handling active systems, when dimensioning load-bearing capacity during fires.

Ascending evacuation

The aim of this project was to increase understanding of the phenomenon of ascending evacuation, and to develop a new method for the evacuation-related dimensioning of stairs in underground facilities and other similar buildings where people can be expected to evacuate upwards for long distances. We have focused on the following:

  • Increasing understanding of the phenomenon of ascending evacuation, by studying and describing physical work and the effect of fatigue on walking speed and behaviour during long upward evacuation.
  • Studying and describing the behaviour of a population, and possibly changed behaviours.
  • Developing a mathematical model that describes walking speed for long upward evacuation, including the effect of fatigue and taking into account changed behaviour relating to stair height. The aim is to provide background information for dimensioning of evacuation.
  • Developing a method that can be used in laboratory-like settings, to study physical work during long upward evacuation. The purpose is to enable cost-efficient data collection in a large population that also includes results from the part of the population that lacks the physical ability to participate in full-scale trials.
  • The project is one of the world’s largest, and is groundbreaking when it comes to long upward movement.

Developmental research in fire protection

  • Development of dimensioning guidelines for specific fire protection solutions (e.g. protection of load-bearing designs with active systems)
  • Studies of particular fire protection solutions, e.g. mists or sprinklers
  • Adaptation of new construction concepts e.g. pre-fab modules

Areas for development

Crowd Dynamics

  • Crowd dynamics that creates meeting places that are safe, pleasant cost-effective and financially profitable in the long term.
  • Crowd dynamics that enables well-planned, intelligent and safe traffic places and exchange points between different modes.
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Building Information Modelling (BIM)

BIM stands for Building Information Modelling. With BIM you create a digital 3D model for design and visualization, thus gathering in one place all available information on the buildings, processes and decisions that are part of the project. BIM has also become the name for the way of working – the process involving:

  • Visualization in a virtual environment
  • Project management tools, clash detection and coordination
  • Simulations
  • Information management
  • Calculation
  • Production checks

Briab has developed a proposal for how BIM and fire protection can interact on a common platform. However, the difference in digitalization levels between various actors is perceived as problematic by the construction industry, and the huge benefits of BIM cannot be realized when not all of the consultant disciplines work in a model-based fashion. Unfortunately, fire protection design is one of the disciplines that has not kept up with the digital developments underway in the construction industry.

Briab Brand & Riskingenjörerna AB, NCC Building Sverige AB and DeBrand Sverige AB have worked to change this, in a project financed by SBUF (the Swedish construction industry’s organization for research and development). The project aim was to survey the current knowledge level of fire protection in a BIM environment, and to develop and test work processes for the implementation of fire-related requirements and functions in a BIM environment for various maturity levels of BIM.

The objective of the project was to make it possible for fire protection engineering to be carried out in a BIM environment, and to lay the foundation for future standardization of the work processes that are developed, for proposals of parameters and for data management to be implemented in practice.

Download the report here.

Development of construction and review processes

  • New Nordic specification (INSTA 952) for quality assurance of fire protection in the process from planning to completed building
  • Impact study of changes to legislation and directives
  • Development of general methods for carrying out risk analyses or fire-protection engineering

Other collaborations within Briab R&D

  • LTH – Faculty of Engineering, Lund University; several research projects
  • KTH Living Lab – support for their testbed, which will be operational in spring 2018
  • RISE – Research Institutes of Sweden
  • DTU – Technical University of Denmark, regarding master’s program in fire safety engineering
  • DBI – strategic development in the digitalization of fire protection industry
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