Performance-based design is often used in situations where prescriptive codes don’t adequately address or meet the design needs of the facility. Some would contend that building codes have not kept pace with technological innovation and current construction practices. To account for this fact, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) includes performance-based options in several of its codes and standards, including:
  • NFPA 1 (Uniform Fire Code)
  • NFPA 13 (Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems)
  • NFPA 72 (National Fire Alarm Code)
  • NFPA 101 (Life Safety Code)
  • NFPA 5000 (Building Construction and Safety Code)
The International Code Council (ICC) also addresses performance-based design in documents that include:
  • International Performance Code
  • International Building Code
  • International Fire Code
Performance-based design differs from prescriptive design in that designers can use alternative solutions as long as they meet the stated goal of the performance-based code. The goal of a performance-based code is usually very broad and differs from prescriptive codes which spell out exactly what steps should be taken to reach the final objective.
Our highly-skilled engineers, designers and safety professionals understand the purpose and goals of both methods. Fire is an unpredictable phenomenon, using our real-world experience in fire modeling and other analytical tools, we can provide solutions and enhancements to prescriptive-based codes most buildings or facilities.
  • Smoke modeling
  • Fire and evacuation modeling
  • Structural engineering


Smoke Modeling

Smoke modeling is conducted through the use of mathematical modeling software that has the capability to simulate and measure the growth of smoke hazards and suppressions. Butler Engineering gains valuable information by utilizing this technology to analyze smoke development and movement. Our team uses these findings to develop appropriate methods to minimize fire and life safety risks.

Smoke modeling issues include:

  • Smoke development
  • Smoke management design
  • Suppression system activation
  • Structural fire engineering  (e.g., composite steel structure design, architectural exposed steel design, design of structures for extreme events)
Smoke Modeling


Fire & Evacuation Modeling

Fire & Evacuation Modeling
Applying scientific modeling tools and methods for determining fire growth, exit times, system activation times, smoke movement and other variables. Using leading edge software, we are able to develop unique fire protection design strategies as well as evaluate and validate alternative performance-based approaches.


Structural Engineering

Butler may be called upon to evaluate joints and fixtures on structural steel. This may take place onsite when accessible or samples may be removed and taken to the laboratory facility. A weld inspection will then be performed for qualification.

Butler carries out magnetic particle, dye penetrant and ultrasonic testing from a variety of its sites to the requirements of most engineering specifying authorities.

Existing or new contruction projects, Butler can be your representative on the job site to oversee the proper installation, testing, third party review and commissioning of fire protection, life safety and security systems.

Fire & Life Safety Development Plan