Performance Based Design

In cutting-edge facilities, not all designs can meet the prescriptive code requirements. In those
instances, performance-based design (PBD) methods can be utilized to demonstrate an equivalent level
of safety to the prescriptive provisions.
PBD is a methodology used by TERPconsulting’s fire protection professionals to develop customized fire
safety solutions for complex or unique buildings or structures that range from historic structures to high-
rise towers. Instead of relying on prescriptive codes and standards, TERPconsulting considers a building’s
specific characteristics, occupant behavior, and fire risk to develop a tailored approach to fire
protection. The goal is to optimize the balance between life safety, property protection, and business
PBD is a multidisciplinary approach that requires collaboration among fire protection engineers,
architects, building owners, and other stakeholders. The process typically involves four stages: defining
the fire safety objectives, conducting a fire risk assessment, developing a fire protection strategy, and
verifying the performance of the design through testing or analysis.
By focusing on performance rather than prescriptive codes and standards, PBD provides a more holistic
and effective approach to fire protection engineering, enhancing fire safety while minimizing disruption
to the building’s function and aesthetics.