The Steel Joist Institute’s (SJI) April webinar features a special guest speaker, Kevin LaMalva, P.E., from Simpson Gumpertz & Heger, Inc., presenting “Structural Fire Engineering: A Powerful Sanctioned Design Option.” Each participant will earn 1.5 PDHs and receive a certificate of completion from SJI.

The emerging proliferation of structural fire engineering in the U.S. will disrupt the century-long norms in structural fire protection. Traditionally, fire protection is prescribed for structures after they have been optimized for ambient design loads (i.e., gravity, wind, seismic and others), with no explicit consideration of structural fire performance. Accordingly, the vulnerability of buildings to structural failure from uncontrolled fire is presumably variable across different jurisdictions, which have varying structural design requirements for ambient loads.

Structural fire protection is often viewed by structural engineers as a nuisance; however, this area represents one of the most promising opportunities for structural engineers to provide value-added services moving forward. ASCE/SEI 7 now permits designers to utilize structural fire engineering as an alternative to the code-default prescriptive method. This alternative approach must be conducted in accordance with the new Appendix E section of ASCE/SEI 7, which requires an analysis of structural performance under fire exposure.

In this context, a structural system may be optimized for ambient and fire loads, which presents nearly endless possibilities in terms of design freedom, as well as enhanced intrinsic structural fire safety.

The learning objectives include:

  • Ability to differentiate between standard fire resistance design and structural fire engineering
  • Understand the treatment of fire effects as a structural load
  • Classify permitted methods within standard fire resistance design
  • Interpret a new industry standardization as it applies to structural fire protection variances

LaMalva is registered as both a fire protection engineer and civil engineer, and has worked at Simpson Gumpertz & Heger, Inc. since 2007. He is chair of the ASCE/SEI Fire Protection Committee and a member of numerous industry committees that conduct research and develop standards for structural fire safety. His work experience spans many areas of fire safety and structural engineering. He has recently been recognized as an ENR Newsmaker for serving the “best interests of the construction industry and the public.”

The webinar is scheduled for Wednesday, April 17, 2019, 3:00 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. (EDT). Registration — $75 per person for individual and $300 for site registration — is available at