Progress report 2023

Published (News)

Here is FRIC's progress report for 2023, presented as a popular scientific presentation of activities in FRIC during 2023. This is based on activities between October 2022 - October 2023. 

Annually fires lead to major losses in terms of fatalities, injured people, and lost values. In response to this challenge, the Fire Research and Innovation Centre (FRIC) started in the spring of 2019. The main objective is to increase knowledge within the field of fire science in order to support decisions and develop better solutions providing increased fire safety in buildings. FRIC shall strengthen cooperation and lead to a long-term increase of competence and dissemination of knowledge within the fire safety field. 

The research is organised into four work packages (WPs):  

WP1 Evidence-based decision-making within fire safety  

WP2 Fire dynamics and modeling  

WP3 Building technology and design  

WP4 Fire safety measures and new technology 

Multidisciplinary collaboration is a prerequisite for the development of good solutions in the centre. FRIC is led by RISE Fire Research in Trondheim, with NTNU and SINTEF as research partners. The research centre has partners from the public sector, consultancy engineers, manufacturers of building materials and building installations, as well as within real estate development and management. 

Work Package 1:  

Project 1.1 - Monitoring and guiding centre research activities: Follow up on the different work packages and projects in FRIC, updating FRIC partners on progress in the centre in a monthly newsletter and updating the public in the FRIC annual report. Coordination of potential new collaborations and satellite projects, signing a letter of understanding of collaboration with Brandforsk in Sweden. Work on and successful establishment of funding for the continuation of FRIC after February 2024.  

Project 1.2 – Learning from fire investigations: Completion of multi-disciplinary study made of a fire that occurred in a municipal residential building 7th of August 2021, focusing on why the fire developed quickly and why there were no injuries or fatalities in the fire (FRIC report published). Several communication activities (mass media, seminars, university lectures) performed related to this fire incident and on learning from fires in general. This includes webinars in English and Norwegian, presentations at Brandskydd and Förebyggandekonferens in Sweden, for Politihøgskolen, at the Research Conference hosted by the Research Council of Norway in April 2023, and lectures at Lunds University and NTNU. Site visit to Kragerø city fire in February 2023, dialogue on learning points with local fire service and other stakeholders.  


Work Package 2:  

Project 2.1 - Modelling of underventillated fire: The PhD candidate has completed and published an article on model formulations for flames with weak turbulence and slow reactions (relevant for rooms with low oxygen). Candidate and supervisor are working on 1-2 more manuscripts.  

Project 2.2 - Smouldering: Effects of cooling: Small and medium scale experiments were conducted in 2022. Completing analysis, reporting and publication remain for 2023. 

Project 2.3 - Pyrolysis, gasification and formation and dispersion of toxic gases and fumes from fires: The project started August 2021. Two series of experiments are conducted and data analysis is ongoing. Completing analysis, reporting and publication remain for 2023. 


Work Package 3:

Project 3.1 Novel construction materials: Several fire experiments have been performed to study the fire performance of different types of combustible insulation (wood fibre, cellulose and PIR) and to compare them with non-combustible mineral wool. Results will be published in a report, and firesafe construction details will be developed based on this knowledge. This can expand the possibilities to use environmentally friendly combustible insulation. 

A scientific article with the results from the fire experiments on timber frame assemblies with I-joists and combustible insulation has been published in the journal Fire Technology, The results form an important basis for calculation of the fire resistance of such structures, which can provide new opportunities for firesafe use of environmentally friendly combustible insulation. 

We also contribute to a Position Paper that is being developed by the Group of Notified Bodies - Fire sector group, related to the Construction Products Directive. The paper describes how wood ribbons should be tested for reaction to fire classification in accordance with EN 13501-1. 

The use of ad hoc fire experiments as part of analytical fire safety design of buildings is being studied, and results will be published at a later stage. 

A guideline Fire resistance upgrade of cultural heritage doors with detailed description of how to increase the fire resistance of the doors has been published in both an English and a Norwegian version, and A scientific article with results from the fire experiments, and description on how to upgrade the doors, has been published in the journal International Journal of Architectural Heritage, The results are also presented in a FRIC webinar, SINTEF Building Research Design Guide 734.503 Brannteknisk forbedring av gamle trefyllingsdører (Fire technical upgrade of old wooden doors) will be updated based on the new knowledge. 

Project  3.2 Timber structures: Results from the two large-scale fire experiments of a large room with exposed cross-laminated timber, performed in August 2022, have now been published in two scientific articles in Fire Safety Journal, and Some of the results were also presented at World Conference on Timber Engineering wcte2023 in Oslo, PhD candidate Andreas Sæter Bøe, who was responsible for these experiments, is now completing his PhD Thesis and his dissertation will be in a few months. 

We have tried modelling the fire in the large-scale experiments in a Computational Fluid Dynamics-programme. The results will be published in a few months. 

A guideline on analytical fire safety design of timber buildings with more than 4 floors (i.e. Fire class 3 in Norway), according to Norwegian building regulations will be published soon. The guideline includes advise about which solutions, tools and methods that should be used, and refers to literature that describe these. It also refers to literature with important knowledge about for example fire development in large timber buildings. 

Several guides about cross-laminated timber structures are being developed in the SINTEF Building Research Design Guide series,

FRIC is represented in Working Group 4 in CEN/TC 250/SC 5, where we contribute to the development of a new version of EN 1995-1-2 Eurocode 5 - Design of timber structures - Part 1-2: Structural fire design. 

Project 3.3 Building Information Modelling BIM: A surveille to map the potential for use of BIM in fire safety design of buildings has been performed, and one workshop was held. 

Two masterstudents at NTNU have written Master Thesis in connection with WP3. 


Work Package 4:  

Project P4.1 - Fire Extinguishment: The main activities in FRIC 4.1 include a study of various firefighting equipment for the fire department to efficiently extinguish fires with little water and low environmental impacts. In 2021, a series of large-scale experiments were conducted to demonstrate the effect of fixed sprinkler and water mist systems on facade fires. A journal article about these experiments has been submitted to Fire Technology. The results are also being presented at the 2nd International Water Mist Conference and in a FRIC webinar. In 2022 and 2023, a survey to evaluate whether the performance of sprinkler systems is a good reference for other firefighting systems was shared with members of the International Water Mist Association (IWMA). The analysis of the responses did not provide sufficient data to conduct a statistically significant analysis. In 2023, tests of various firefighting systems for batteries were planned. The firefighting systems to be tested later in the year include low-pressure and high-pressure water mist and sprinkler systems. 

Project 4.2 - Personal protective equipment for firefighters: A small-scale test method is being developed where textiles are exposed to "standardized" smoke, in order to document the penetration of smoke particles into the clothing of firefighters. In December 2021, tests were carried out to study how exposure to heat affects thermal stress and workload in fire constables during simulated smoke diving. The results have been presented to the fire service and at an international conference. 

Project 4.3 - Fire safety measures for dwellings: Fire safety measures for homes: Fire safety measures for homes have been mapped, especially with regard to the protection of people who are vulnerable in a fire situation. Small-scale screening experiments have now been carried out to identify simple, cost-effective solutions to improve the fire performance of upholstered furniture. The effect of the measures has then been examined in full-scale fire tests. 

In order to avoid unnecessary fire alarms, guidelines are drawn up for how various measures should be assessed when reducing unnecessary alarms. 

A report has been published on how the fire service in Norway communicates fire safety to the public. The project is also working on an assessment of Bjørnis, the fire mascot's effect on fire safety in Norwegian homes. 

Project 4.4  Building integrated smart technology: Fire safety of solar panels on buildings is the focus of Project 4.4. This applies to retrofitted installations on roofs or facades of buildings, as well as installations integrated into building surfaces. It is important to understand how the combination of different materials and geometries affects the spread of fire in the space between the building surface and the solar modules. The goal is to develop a model for how a fire will develop in this space based on the materials used and how they are installed. The study includes experiments and simulations, aiming to recommend methods of mounting solar panels that reduce the consequences of a potential fire. 

Other technologies, such as energy storage and energy production in buildings, vehicle-to-grid technology, and smart ventilation systems, have also been reviewed, focusing on their impact on fire safety. 

You may find FRIC and an overview of all our publications in the project bank of the Norwegian Research Council here:

Photo: Trøndelag brann- og redningstjeneste.