EFFECT™ is based on a Fire Risk Assessment methodology developed by Arup with peer review and technical input from Jensen Hughes as part of the the NFPA project High Rise Buildings with Combustible Exterior Façade Systems: Fire Risk Assessment Tool.
EFFECT™ is applicable in any geography but is currently limited to residential (e.g., hotel, apartments) or business (e.g. office) type occupancies that are over 18m high where height is measured as the vertical distance from fire department access level to the top most occupied floor of the building.
The methodology is qualitative rather than quantitative and relies on a two-tier process:
Tier 1 and 2 are split into two processes:
Process A – Address the likelihood and consequence of a fire over multiple stories of the building as a result of combustible façade systems and ignition sources. The FRA tool focuses on the cladding/insulation in the façade system and the possible ignition sources.
Process B – Addresses the likelihood and consequence of means of egress and warning being compromised. The FRA tool focuses on the fire safety provisions of the building.
In Tier 1A the answers to the questions from the various Facilities Managers result in a priority ranking of the buildings based on the worst case combination of façade materials (fuel) and ignition hazard present at each building. This is a crude assessment but allows a large number of buildings to be screened and prioritised for assessment in Tier 2A.
In Tier 2A, the questions are more detailed and allow the AHJ to score each elevation of the building and each façade system and potential ignition source separately to understand what is driving the risk.
In Tier 1B the answers to the questions from the various Facilities Managers result in a priority ranking of the buildings based on the condition of the internal fire safety provisions. This a crude assessment but allows a large number of buildings to be screened and prioritised for assessment in Tier 2B.
In Tier 2B, the questions are more detailed and allow the AHJ to understand what is driving the risk scores.
Outcome of Tier 1
At the end of Tier 1 assessment the AHJ shall have a list of buildings with a priority ranking for Tier 1A and Tier 1B.
Buildings of Trivial/Tolerable in Tier 1A do not need further assessment unless the AHJ doubts the feedback from the Facilities Mangers.
Buildings of Trivial/Tolerable in Tier 1A but Moderate-Intolerable in Tier 1B should be assessed but not with this FRA tool.
Outcome of Tier 2
At the end of a Tier 2 assessment the AHJ may have a list of buildings that require mitigation measures.
Mitigation measures include making changes to reduce ignition sources, to reduce the fuel in the façade system or to improve internal fire safety provisions. These can be tested by revisiting Tier 2A and 2B and altering the answers to the questions to reflect the possible mitigation measures.
More information on the background for EFFECT™ can be found NFPA Fire Protection Research Foundation report High Rise Buildings with Combustible Exterior Wall Assemblies: Fire Risk Assessment Tool written by Susan Lamont and Sigurjon Ingolfsson, Arup. This report also provides a range of possible mitigation measures to help the AHJ and building owner to begin reducing the fire risk where necessary. The tool can be used to measure the success of the mitigation by revisiting the risk assessment.
In some instances the Tier 2 assessment will highlight the need for a more detailed risk assessment by a qualified engineering team of façade and fire engineers. This is outside of the scope of this FRA tool.