Research, Tools & Methods Standing Committee

The Standing Committee on Research, Tools and Methods (RTM) identifies, develops, and oversees SFPE’s technical products and research work, monitors innovative trends, and helps to establish the research agenda for the fire protection and safety engineering profession.

Committee Chair: Greg Baker (2021)
Staff Liaison: Chris Jelenewicz, SFPE Technical Director


Standards Oversight (SCSO)

Subcommittee Chair: Steve Wolin
Staff Liaison: Chris Jelenewicz

The Subcommittee for Standards Oversight (SCSO) is comprised of members with experience serving on SFPE Standards Committees, Guidelines Committees, and Task Groups. This subcommittee is charged with assuring balance on committees, adjudicating issues, and undertaking related oversight activities as required by the ANSI process.

Codes and Standards Liaison (SCCSL)

Subcommittee Chair: Matthew Davy
Staff Liaison: Chris Jelenewicz

The Subcommittee for Codes and Standards Liaison (SCCSL) is comprised of members interested in promoting the use of fire safety engineering data, tools, and methods within building codes and standards. The SCCSL is responsible for facilitating the adoption of SFPE standards and guides into building regulations, codes and standards. SCCSL  members may be appointed by the Board of Directors to represent the Society in specific codes and standards development and liaison activities. Currently, the SCCSL has two working groups, NFPA and ICC - that are working to ensure SFPE's engineering standards and guidelines are referenced in NFPA and ICC codes and standards. Work is underway to create another working group for CEN in Europe. 

Handbook Development (SCHD)

Subcommittee Chair: Jeff Tubbs
Staff Liaison: Chris Jelenewicz

The Subcommittee for Handbook Development (SCHD) is comprised of SFPE members, and others from the scientific and engineering community, who are authors of the SFPE Handbook of Fire Protection Engineering (Handbook). The purpose of the SCHD is to provide a mechanism to help facilitate the flow of information between the scientific and practitioner communities such that future editions of the Handbook continue to reflect the state-of-the-art information and approaches as well as addressing the current needs of practitioners.

Research and Innovation (SCRI)

Subcommittee Chair: Bryan L. Hoskins
Staff Liaison: Ryan Tunkel

The Subcommittee on Research & Innovation (SCRI) is comprised of members with a research or technology development background, a desire to help chart future research priorities for the profession, and an interest in working with other groups, companies, and associations to obtain input for, and communicate back, SFPE research priorities and directions for the future.

Standards Committees

Performance-Based Design (PBD)

Subcommittee Chair: Greg Baker
Staff Liaison: Ryan Tunkel

This standards committee is creating a new SFPE Standard on Performance-Based Design for Fire Protection (S.04). The standard will define the process for implementing a performance-based approach in the design and/or assessment of building fire safety within both prescriptive and performance-based code systems. The standard is intended to be used in the development of alternate or equivalent means of protection to the prescriptive code requirements, especially in cases where no specific building and fire regulations apply. It is also intended to be used where protection features are intended or desired to exceed the applicable building and fire regulations. The new standard will provide a framework for preparing a performance-based design for use in the regulatory process, including required technical documentation, design submittals, and future reviews of existing conditions subject to the authority having jurisdiction. The standard will have appendices that provide practical information to assist design professionals to prepare, and authorities having jurisdiction review, a performance-based design. 

Design Fire Scenarios

Standards Committee Chair: Charley Fleischmann
Staff Liaison: Chris Jelenewicz

This standards committee is responsible for developing a new SFPE Standard on Design Fire Scenarios (S.03), which will determine the explicit design fire scenarios to be used to evaluate the fire safety performance of a building using a performance-based design framework.

Calculating Fire Exposures to Structures

Standards Committee Chair: Craig Beyler
Staff Liaison: Chris Jelenewicz

This committee is responsible for developing and updating the SFPE Standard on Calculating Fire Exposures to Structures (S.01). This standard provides methodologies to predict thermal boundary conditions for fully developed fires to a structure over time. 

Guidelines Committees

Existing Building 

TG Chair: Warren Bonisch
Staff Liaison: Ryan Tunkel

The SFPE Engineering Guide for Assessments of Existing Building Fire Safety provides a methodology for completing an assessment of an existing facility’s current fire safety condition. The guide describes a framework for conducting and documenting assessments that evaluates fire safety through a combination of interviews, document reviews, and field observations. The framework provides guidance on establishing the assessment objectives and tailoring the scope., It also provides for the identification and prioritization of further action, evaluation criteria, data collection process, and required documentation to fulfill the objectives. Assessments prepared using this guide may focus on a single topic, several topics, or be comprehensive. The results can be used to demonstrate if a facility provides adequate fire safety; to establish a safety baseline that supports remodeling, renovation, or repurposing plans; or to identify desired enhancements that would improve facility safety.

Human Behavior in Fire

Subcommittee Chair: Dan O'Conner
Staff Liaison: Chris Jelenewicz

This committee is responsible for the development of the SFPE Guide to Human Behavior in Fire, which focuses primarily on behaviors related to evacuation and refuge-finding or relocation to a safe area.

Peer Review

Subcommittee Chair: Joshua Greene
Staff Liaison: Chris Jelenewicz

This task group is responsible for the development and update of the SFPE Engineering Guide for Peer Review in the Fire Protection Design Process. The guide is intended to address the initiation, scope, conduct, and report of a peer review of a fire protection engineering work product.


TG Chair: Francisco Joglar
Staff Liaison: Chris Jelenewicz

This committee is responsible for developing and updating the SFPE Engineering Guide to Fire Risk Assessment, which provides guidance in the development, selection, and use of fire risk assessment methodologies for the design, construction, and operation of buildings, facilities, or processes.

Tall Buildings 

Subcommittee Chair: Jim Quiter
Staff Liaison: Chris Jelenewicz

This task group is responsible for developing and updating the SFPE Engineering Guide: Fire Safety for Very Tall Buildings, which provides information on the special topics that affect the fire safety performance of very tall buildings and their occupants during a fire. The guide addresses these topics as part of the overall building design process using performance-based fire protection engineering concepts as described in the SFPE Engineering Guide to Performance-Based Fire Protection. It is not intended to be a recommended practice or a document that is suitable for adoption as a code.

How to Join the Committee

Each team is led by a chair, or co-chairs, and has a staff liaison assigned to it. To join the RTM Standing Committee and an associated subcommittee or task group, you must be logged in to your member profile. Click here and navigate to "Committee Request" under "Forms." The Board of Directors will review applications and make appointments on a rolling basis.

On January 9, 2019, the SFPE Committee Operations Manual was adopted.