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Performance-based design is a recent evolutionary step in the process of designing fire safety solutions. In essence, it is a logical design process resulting in a fire safety solution that achieves a specified performance. Sometimes the prescriptive solutions presented in various codes and standards are too expensive or inflexible. Often the solutions do not fit a particular situation very well. In such cases, performance-based design offers a wider variety of possible solutions and enables optimization of a solution for cost and function.
Today, performance-based design has entered into mainstream use. The Life Safety Code now incorporates a performance-based design option as an alternative to its prescriptive requirements. The International Code Council has published the International Performance Code, a performance-based building code. This has since been legally adopted by the city of Decatur, Alabama – the first jurisdiction in the United States to do so.
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