ENFE601-23S1 (C) Semester One 2023

Structural Fire Engineering

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 20 February 2023
End Date: Sunday, 25 June 2023
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 5 March 2023
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Sunday, 14 May 2023


Introduction to specific fire engineering design of buildings. Active and passive fire protection. Severity of post-flashover fires. Fire resistance of steel, concrete and timber structures.

Structural Fire Engineering introduces graduate students and engineering professionals to performance-based design of structures for fire situations. It covers general fire safety principles, fire resistance and the behaviour, analysis and design of structures at elevated temperatures. In exploring the available fire engineering design methods, the course examines prescriptive approaches, simple calculations and advanced calculation methods. It is aimed at enhancing structural engineering practice for the design of structures exposed to fires.

Learning Outcomes

  • At the end of this course, participants will have an understanding of the fundamental behaviours of individual structural elements and structural systems in fires. Students should be able to distinguish between conditions where tabulated and simplified calculations of fire resistance of structural elements are applicable, and where advanced calculations are either the only alternative or a better option. Principally, they will be able to make calculations of:

  • Heat release rates of materials and items of furniture
  • Temperatures in post-flashover fires
  • Fire spread by radiation from building to building
  • Equivalent fire severity
  • Temperatures in structural assemblies using hand calculation methods and finite element software
  • Loads and safety factors for structural fire design
  • Fire performance of steel and concrete structures using hand and advanced calculation methods
  • Fire resistance of heavy timber and light timber frame structures


ENGR403 or subject to approval of the Head of Department



Timetable Note

The course is based on guided self-study, using the textbook Structural Design for Fire Safety (2nd Edition) and other references on structural fire engineering. It is delivered in ‘Block Mode’, with two three-day blocks at the University of Canterbury. To guide students through the course, and to prepare them for the assignments and final project, the first block course offers lectures, which are designed to introduce basic concepts and ideas of structural fire engineering. The course textbook and other references cover the material in greater detail, and should be consulted for completeness. There are fortnightly tutorials to reinforce the ideas discussed in the lectures and referenced materials. The second block reviews the assignment problems and introduces advanced structural fire engineering concepts amongst discussions of current problems in this field.

Course Coordinator / Lecturer

Anthony Abu


Assessment Due Date Percentage 
Assignments (5) 35%
Lab report (1) 5%
Block class Presentation 5%
Online quizzes (x7) 5%
Block 2 class test 10%
final test 40%

• The deadlines for all assignments are displayed on the Course Schedule and on LEARN
• Any changes to course dates or other details will be communicated through LEARN. It is the responsibility of each student to check the LEARN website regularly
• Assessments must be submitted by the due date on LEARN. Marks will be posted online as soon as they are available. Late assignments are unacceptable, and will not be marked.
• Our aim is to provide feedback on assessments within 4 weeks. Where this is not possible, it will be communicated to you.
• All submissions should be single (typed) PDF documents, except for the test.
• Unless specifically stated, assessments should not exceed 8 pages of typed text (4000 words). Illustrations are helpful, but should be appropriately explained. Items that do not directly contribute to an argument being made in the main body of the text should be put in an appendix.
• Plagiarism is not accepted in any form. Submitted assignments would be checked using “turn-it-in”. As such all “DRAFT” submissions on LEARN will not be assessed, and will receive a zero grade.

• There will be a test at 9.15 am on the third day of block course 1.
• The test is based on the twelve chapters of the course textbook “Structural Design for Fire Safety (2nd Edition)” by Andrew Buchanan & Anthony Abu and items covered during the first two days of the block.
• The course textbook can be purchased online, through the University of Canterbury bookshop (www.ubscan.co.nz) or through Catherine O’Shaughnessy at the Department of Civil and Natural Resources Engineering at the University of Canterbury.

Textbooks / Resources

Required Texts

Buchan, A H and Abu, A K; Structural Design for Fire Safety ; 2nd; John Wiley and Sons, 2016.

Recommended Reading

Hurley, Morgan J. et al; SFPE Handbook of Fire Protection Engineering ; Springer New York : Imprint : Springer, 2016.

Lennon, Tom; Structural fire engineering ; ICE Publishing, 2011.

Purkiss, J. A; Fire safety engineering design of structures ; Butterworth-Heinemann, 1996.

Wang, Y. C; Steel and composite structures : behaviour and design for fire safety ; Spon Press, 2002.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $1,164.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.

For further information see Civil and Natural Resources Engineering .

All ENFE601 Occurrences

  • ENFE601-23S1 (C) Semester One 2023