ADMINISTRATIVE REPORT

                                           Date: May 14, 1997
                                           Dept. File No. PL000V.RPT
                                           CC File: 3651-1

   TO:       Vancouver City Council

   FROM:     The General Managers of Fire and Rescue Services and Community
             Services Group in consultation with the Comptroller of Budgets
             and Research

   SUBJECT:  UBC Fire Protection Engineering Program


        THAT Council approve awarding a contract to the University of
        British Columbia to provide special training and technical support
        in the area of Fire Protection Engineering to assist the Permits
        and Licenses and Fire Departments.  The value of the contract to be
        $75,000 for the academic year 1997 - 1998.  The source of the funds
        to be 1997 Trade Permit Fee Revenue Accounts.


        The General Managers of the Fire and Rescue Services and Community
        Services Group RECOMMEND approval of the foregoing.


   Current policy requires that all contracts for consulting services in
   excess of $30,000 be approved by Council.  The services proposed in this
   report include a combination of specific services and consulting


   This report presents a proposal from the University of British Columbia
   to provide specialist training and consulting services to the Fire and
   Permits and Licences departments.

   The services proposed include the following:

   -    Provision of places within the Fire Protection Engineering M.Eng.
        studies program;
   -    Assistance with the development of training programs for fire
        fighting management;
   -    Holding workshops and seminars on fire modelling techniques;
   -    Assistance with forensic fire investigations;
   -    Assistance with the processing of fire safety equivalents;
   -    Assistance with managing the transition to performance-based codes
        which will be a reality by the year 2001.

   It is proposed that these services will provide invaluable assistance to
   City Staff and Fire Department Personnel to improve the standard and
   awareness of fire safety in the City.  They will also assist with
   achieving the objectives of Better City Government by providing staff
   the tools required to provide effective and rational input into the
   permitting and inspections process.  This will enable designers to
   achieve more efficient building designs through equivalency/performance
   objectives while maintaining adequate and consistent levels of fire

   The proposal will also provide the City's support for the Fire
   Protection Engineering Program at UBC and assist this specialized
   program develop into a major Canadian Centre for fire safety education
   and research.  Currently, the M.Eng. program is one of only two in North
   America.  The resources provided by this centre will prove of
   significant benefit, not only to City Staff, but also the design and
   construction community in Vancouver.


   -    To present the response from the University of B.C. and the Union
        of B.C. Municipalities to the request from the Standing Committee
        on City Services and Budgets;

   -    To present the proposal from the University of British Columbia to
        provide specialized training and technical support in the area of
        Fire Protection Engineering;

   -    To further comment on the rationale for the Fire Protection
        Engineering program and to outline the current level of
        participation by City Staff in the UBC Program;

   -    To briefly review recent developments in the application of current
        Fire Protection Engineering principles in the design of complex
        buildings and the implications for the City in the proposed
        transition to performance-based codes in Canada.


   Council has a long-standing policy on promoting fire safety in buildings
   ever since Council encouraged the use of more performance-oriented codes
   and adopted the 1970 requirements of the National Building Code (NBC). 
   Subsequently, Council has adopted successive editions of the NBC which
   have been consistently improved and updated in the area of fire and life

   In 1993, Council authorized a grant of $75,000 to the University of B.C.
   to support the Fire Protection Engineering program and enable it to
   commence offering M.Eng. courses while discussions with the Union of
   B.C. Municipalities continued to arrange for  additional funding from
   other municipalities.  It was proposed that the City's share would be
   achieved  through an increase in the trade permit fees, with matching
   funding from UBCM.  This increase, based on collecting 2.25% of all
   trade permit fees, is currently in effect and covers the City's portion
   of the funding and would be available for the cost of this contract.

   This grant was renewed by Council in June 1995 for a period of two years
   subject to UBC providing 10 course sessions per year free to City staff. 
   The two-year extension was to support the program for the academic years
   1995-1996 and 1996-1997.  It was anticipated that this period would
   allow adequate time for UBC to secure alternative funding  for the
   program from the Union of B.C. Municipalities and/or industry and
   facilitate continued funding from Vancouver to be matched with funding
   from other  municipalities.

   Subsequently, Council on June 27th 1996, approved a recommendation of
   the Standing Committee on City Services and Budgets that consideration
   of this grant to the University of British Columbia, for the
   continuation of the  Fire protection Engineering Program, be deferred to
   September 1996, pending a response from the Union of B.C. Municipalities
   regarding its financial support for the program.


   The attached response from UBC (Appendix A) describes the development of
   the Fire Protection Engineering Program to date and outlines the current
   sources of funding for the program.  It also contains more information
   from the UBCM on its recent actions to procure funding from its members
   and notes the endorsement of the program by the Fire Chiefs' Association
   of B.C.

   An updated information package has been distributed to B.C.
   Municipalities together with a further request for financial support. 
   In return for their contributions, municipalities will receive credits
   towards enrolment in the Fire Protection Engineering Program and in fire
   protection workshops.

   While the University is still optimistically pursuing funding from the
   UBCM, it has also aggressively sought funding from industry.  This
   effort has been relatively well rewarded and the attached report
   outlines the source and magnitude of such funding.  However, this
   funding alone is not adequate for the program to maintain its current
   level of services or to develop as originally anticipated into a major
   centre for research and training in the field of Fire Protection

   The University has proposed that in lieu of a direct grant,
   consideration be given to awarding the Fire Protection Engineering
   program a contract to provide high level training as part of the M.Eng
   Program or in alternative diploma or certificate programs in Fire
   Protection Engineering.  In addition, it is proposed to provide Permits
   and Licenses and the Fire Department with consulting services and
   special fire safety modelling to assist the City with investigations,
   equivalencies and analysis of building code issues and policies.

   Following is a tentative program of the contract activities and funding
   allocations which will be confirmed at a workshop to be held by UBC with
   City staff in attendance:

   1.   Tuition fees:  Equivalent of 4 City employees enrolled on a full
        time basis in the M.Eng. Program in Fire Protection Engineering.                                                        4 x $2,300 = $9,200

   2.   Fees for six City employees in workshops on Fire Protection
        Engineering. (1997/1998 Workshop will be entitled "Municipal Fire
        Protection for Public Administrators".)
                                                       6 x $2,000 = $12,000

   3.   Presentation of four three hour seminars on performance based
        design delivered to City staff (Permits and Licences)

        Tentative Seminars for 1997/1998 (final program to be developed in
        consultation with City Staff)

        -    Basic concepts and principles
        -    International performance-based codes
        -    Performance-based design for fire resistance
        -    Performance-based design of detection systems.

        Preparation/presentation based on  24 hours per seminar
                                                        4 x $2,400 = $9,600

   4.   Four three-hour seminars on the role of fire modelling in fire
        investigations to City staff (Fire Dept)

        Tentative Seminars for 1997/1998(final program to be developed in
        consultation with City Staff)

        -    Introduction to Fire Modelling
        -    Review of current models
        -    Documented use of fire modelling in forensic analysis
        -    A worked example (selected in consultation with VPD).

        Preparation/presentation based on  24 hours per seminar
                                                        4 x $2,400 = $9,600

   5.   Assist Permits and Licenses in Building By-law development by
        undertaking one complete fire safety engineering analysis of a
        proposed major code change per year
        This would likely form the basis of an M.Eng. Project thesis in
        which 50% of the stipend would be awarded to the student in the
        form of a scholarship and 50% to the program.  One such topic could
        be to carry out a reliability analysis of fire safety systems for
        tall buildings and assess the level of fire risk after an
        earthquake.                                  Proposed Cost  $10,000

   6.   Assist the Fire Department in forensic analysis by using fire
        modelling techniques to recreate one specific fire event each year.

        This could similarly form the basis of an M.Eng. Project Thesis in
        which 50% of the stipend would be awarded to the student in the
        form of a scholarship and 50% to the program.  A proposed topic
        could be to analyse the recent fire at 5th Avenue which presented
        some significant problems for fire fighters and to assess the
        advisability of Fire By-law changes and/or modified fire fighting
                                                     Proposed Cost  $10,000

   7.   Provide specialized consulting services to the City to assist with
        the following:

        -    Provide advice and analysis for review of equivalent fire
             safety measures;
        -    Assist with the development of degree, diploma and certificate
             programs for the Fire Department;
        -    Participate in policy planning committees for the Fire and
             Permits and Licenses Departments;
        -    Provide assistance with the transition to performance based

        Estimated time commitment per year - 150 hours @ $100.00 =  $15,000
                                      Total Estimated Cost = $75,400


   The program presents a valuable opportunity for the City of Vancouver
   staff together with other B.C. municipalities and the professional
   design community to develop a substantially higher understanding of fire
   and life-safety engineering and the underlying rationale of current
   building codes and standards.  This assists the designers in achieving
   the required level of fire and life safety in their buildings consistent
   with other design constraints.

   It also provides municipal staff with the tools necessary for reasonable
   application and interpretation of increasingly complex regulations and
   avoids the problems associated with a relatively rigid adherence to
   purely prescriptive regulations, the rationale for which may not be
   fully comprehended.  With the planned introduction of the newer
   objective-based codes and standards, currently scheduled for publication
   within five years, it will become necessary for most municipalities and
   fire protection design professionals to take further specialised courses
   in order to stay current with this new direction in  building code


   The Permits and Licenses Department is currently receiving an
   unprecedented number of requests for fire safety and building code
   equivalencies.  These requests are generally prepared by Fire Protection
   Engineers based on a consideration of the perceived objectives of the
   National and Vancouver Building and Fire codes and are required to
   demonstrate that they achieve levels of performance equivalent to
   current code standards.  This approach provides the designer
   considerably more latitude in design than following the more narrow
   purely prescriptive requirements of the building code, and enables the
   designer to achieve more creative design solutions.  It also greatly
   assists in avoiding any conflicts with current zoning and development
   by-laws and guidelines.

   In common with several other Lower Mainland municipalities, we have had
   reason to question the quality and technical adequacy of some of the
   reports submitted to us by practitioners without adequate background
   knowledge.  Several reports have been found to contain unwarranted
   assumptions, technical errors and ambiguities and have had to be
   returned to the writer with requests for major revisions.  This causes
   delays to the projects and inconvenience to the owner and designer.


   The discipline of Fire Protection Engineering is a relatively new
   discipline. Currently the UBC Fire Protection Program is the only
   Canadian University offering a graduate program in Fire protection
   Engineering and is one of only two in North America.  Due to the
   relatively rapid expansion and growth of opportunity in this field, it
   has attracted practitioners who may lack formalised training and
   in-depth experience in Fire Safety and Fire Protection Engineering.  It
   is the intention of the Permits and Licenses Department to require that
   all Fire protection engineering reports and requests for equivalency be
   prepared and sealed by a registered professional engineer who has
   successfully completed a graduate level program in Fire Protection
   Engineering such as that offered at UBC or Worcester Polytechnical
   Institute in the USA. It is proposed to implement this requirement once
   a sufficient number of Fire protection consultants have had the
   opportunity to attend the UBC program.

   Commensurate with requiring enhanced qualifications from practitioners,
   it is also necessary that City staff dealing with equivalencies possess
   adequate training and professional level qualifications.  Due to the
   complex technical nature of the training required, it is not feasible
   for the City to offer such training in-house.  Accordingly, Permits and
   Licenses and the Fire Department intend to upgrade the requirements for
   all staff processing equivalencies and technical fire safety reports to
   include graduate level training in Fire Protection Engineering.  This
   requirement will become more essential when objective-based codes are
   introduced in Canada in the year 2001 and when more designers seek to
   take advantage of the increased flexibility and rationalization offered
   by such codes.

   Currently, four City staff members are enrolled in the UBC program,
   three from Permits and Licenses and one from the Fire Department. This
   virtually fills our quota of free allotted space for the next two years
   or more.  The balance of the space allocated to the City would be 
   utilized through attendance by City staff at UBC's fire protection
   workshops.  It is likely that with increasing exposure to the program
   and the proposal to require enhanced  qualifications for both Fire
   protection Engineers and City professional staff, more staff members
   will wish to avail themselves of the opportunities offered by this
   program.   CONCLUSION

   The availability of a graduate level program in Fire Protection
   Engineering at a local institution provides an invaluable resource to
   the local design and building regulatory community.  As the program
   expands, it will attract to Vancouver, internationally-renowned
   researchers and practitioners and provide a centre of information and
   technical excellence.  This will likely prove very beneficial to the
   local design and construction community and improve their reputation and
   standing throughout Canada and overseas.

   In order for the program to be developed past its current initial phase
   and to avoid curtailment or abandonment of the program, it would be
   necessary that some financial support funding from the City comparable
   to that originally authorized in July 1995, be continued. It is
   recommended that consideration be given by Council to continuing this
   funding, but on a contractual fees for service basis as outlined above.

   In response to concerns raised by the Greater Vancouver Regional Permits
   and Licenses Committee, the Association of Professional Engineers and
   Geoscientists of B.C. has drafted proposed qualification requirements
   for fire protection engineers.  Subsequently, these will be presented to
   the Regional Permits and Licenses administrative committee for
   acceptance by all municipalities within UBCM.  This should necessitate a
   mechanism for funding the UBC program and should  facilitate obtaining
   future additional funding from the UBCM members municipalities.

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