Report of the 17th Plenary Meeting

November 1997, Philadelphia, USA

Location and programme

ISO/TC92 met at ASTM Headquarters West Conshohoken, Philadelphia in conjunction with meetings of its four sub-committees

SC1 - Reaction to fire

SC2 - Fire resistance

SC3 - Toxic hazards in fire

SC4 - Fire safety engineering

At the 16th meeting of ISO/TC92 in 1995, a task group had been established to consider the future strategy for international standardization in the area of fire safety. A presentation on the outcome of its conclusions together with returns from a wide ranging consultation questionnaire was given at the opening session of TC92 on 9 November. The Chairman, Prof Geoff Cox, summarized the recommendations and put forward suggestions for a new strategic vision for TC92 and possible ideas for re-structuring of the committee and its sub-committees. (see copies of overheads annexed).

National delegations and sub-committees were asked to study these recommendations for a detailed discussion at the plenary session of TC92 at the end of the week.

At the second plenary session on 14 November reports were presented from the four sub-committees and WG8 of TC92.

WG8 Fire terms and definitions

This group had been considering the comments received on the revision of ISO Guide 52. The text of a DIS had been agreed which would shortly be circulated as a trilingual text under the reference ISO/DIS 13943.

All four sub-committees had held successful meetings during the week and there no specific points of a policy nature that needed to be brought to the attention of ISO/TC92. A new Chairman for SC2 was confirmed making the Chairmen as follows

SC1 - Bjorn Sundstrom, Sweden

SC2 - Deg Priest, USA

SC3 - Hank Roux, USA

SC4 - Wolfram Becker, Germany

Liaison reports were presented as follows

International Maritime Organization (IMO)

IMO monitored the work of ISO/TC92 closely as it called up some of its standards in its own regulations. IMO was also following closely the work in SC4 on fire safety engineering, as its longer term aim was to incorporate a fire safety engineering approach in its work.

International Council for building research (CIB)

W14 of CIB was concerned with fire safety and a presentation was given on the work currently under discussion in this area. Work in CIB was of a pre-normative nature and the results of this could be fed into ISO for standardization.

European Group of Official Fire Laboratories (EGOLF)

This was the first meeting EGOLF had attended and the work done by EGOLF in support of European standardization was explained.

ISO/TC21 Equipment for fire protection and fire fighting

TC21 had a close interest in some of the work of ISO/TC92 as TC21 dealt with fire detection and suppression. In particular, TC21 was keen to ensure close liaison in future development on fire safety engineering.

IEC/TC89 Fire hazard testing

A report was given of the work carried out in this technical committee and their representative emphasized their full co-operation in working in liaison with TC92.

Future strategy and its implementation

Discussions then centred on this topic. The views of the individual sub-committees were presented.


- test procedures useful for fire safety engineering

- updating and improving test procedures already in use

- reference scenario test methods

- test standards for determining the precision of fire test procedures

- design fires

- validation tests for fire growth calculation models

- instrumentation

- effects of fires in the environment


- fire safety engineering was an essential part of TC92 and fire resistance formed an essential input to this

- existing standards needed developing, especially to input to FSE

- additional procedures would also be required to input to FSE

- new prescriptive test methods were still needed

- guidance documents were needed

- wider aspects of fire resistance need addressing e.g. influence of behaviour of structures in the building

Finally SC2 had established a Task Group to produce proposals for

- integration of FSE with fire resistance

- strengthening of the connection between standard tests and calculation methods

- methods through which tests can provide data in support of FSE


The sub-committee felt it was necessary to maintain the forum under TC92 where toxic hazards in fire and appropriate standards could be considered.


- involvement of customers was essential

       -  fire protection engineers
       -  industries
       -  insurers
       -  code officials (regulators & enforcers)
       -  educators

- key areas where existing work items should be developed in the future were identified

- new areas of future work building on the existing work programme

Individual delegations and liaison members then put forward their views and a detailed discussion followed.

It became clear more detailed discussions were required before Member Countries could make any final decisions on the future detailed work of ISO/TC92. It was felt that four areas should be addressed

a) strategy

b) structure and development of work programme

c) co-ordination of fire safety across ISO and IEC

d) Long term scientific fundamental framework for fire safety standardization

Following these four points the following four resolutions were agreed

Resolution 229

Strategy for ISO/TC92

ISO/TC92 agrees it strategy shall be

  1. The assessment of fire hazard and risk to life, health, property and the environment
  2. The performance under fire conditions of materials, products, components, elements of structure, structures and buildings (not covered by other TCs) in end use conditions, where appropriate.
  3. The application of fire safety engineering and fire safety management.
  4. Characterization of occupant performance and occupant behaviour when subjected to fire conditions.

Resolution 230

Development of work programs and structure

ISO/TC92 agrees to establish a Task Group convened by Mr J Hoover to develop a work programme and organizational structure to fulfill the requirements of the ISO/TC92 strategy.

The Task Group shall comprise up to 10 members and shall include

The Task Group shall provide an initial report to ISO/TC92 by November 1998, to be considered by WG7 and a final report shall be circulated to ISO/TC92 in January 1999 for consideration at the next plenary meeting in May 1999.

Resolution 231

Co-ordination of fire safety standardization in ISO

Noting the comments from ISO/TC21, IEC/TC20 and IEC/TC89 ISO/TC92 agrees to hold a joint meeting of representatives of committees interested in fire in spring 1998 to establish the best methods of achieving such co-ordination.

Resolution 232

Framework for the long term future standardization of fire safety

ISO/TC92 agrees to establish a Task Group to consider a framework for the production of standards having a consistent approach across all areas of fire safety. The Task Group shall be established by the Chairman of ISO/TC92 taking into account all areas of fire safety and shall provide an interim report to the next meeting of ISO/TC92 in May 1999, and a final report circulated to members 5 months prior to the subsequent plenary meeting.

Future Meetings - Meetings have been arranged in March 1998 in Brussels to discuss the implementations of resolutions 230 and 231 and the Chairman has initiated informal discussions implementing resolution 232. The next plenary meeting is scheduled for Europe in May 1999-details will be posted here as they become available.

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