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Advanced analyses of the membrane action of composite slabs under natural fire scenarios: A case study of the JTI headquarters

Lorenzo Lelli (INGENI SA, Carouge, Switzerland)
Jonas Loutan (INGENI SA, Carouge, Switzerland)

Journal of Structural Fire Engineering

ISSN: 2040-2317

Article publication date: 22 June 2017

Issue publication date: 2 February 2018




This paper aims to detail the advanced natural fire simulations that were carried out for the composite steel-reinforced concrete structure of the JTI Building in Geneva, Switzerland. The results of these analyses led to a significant reduction of in the fireproofing of the steel floor framing.


Several scenarios were studied considering different thermal behaviours of the peripheral cladding. Despite the small thickness of the resisting slabs, the analyses performed with SAFIR software showed that the typical wide storey bay (12 × 15.86 m) can resist to the design’s fire temperatures without the protection of the main and secondary beams while the spandrels remain protected. For study completeness, the composite frame-membrane model was also simulated with Hasemi-localized fire routines on SAFIR.


The analyses have showed that the membrane behaviour of composite slabs under fire allows a significant reduction of the fire protection, even in case of small thickness of the concrete topping. The increase of the reinforcement ratio to sustain the membrane forces is widely compensated by the savings related to the fireproofing of the steel framing.


A natural fire approach is particularly advisable in case of fully glazed buildings. In fact when the façade collapses, the entry of a large cold air quantity limits the increase of the gas temperature inside the compartment.


The analyses were carried out with recent SAFIR routines for localized fires (Hasemi fire model) and represent one of the first applications in practice. The issue of the rebar orientation in mesh is raised out. The latest SAFIR release allows the definition of a global orientation of the rebars and amends the issue.



Lelli, L. and Loutan, J. (2018), "Advanced analyses of the membrane action of composite slabs under natural fire scenarios: A case study of the JTI headquarters", Journal of Structural Fire Engineering, Vol. 9 No. 1, pp. 77-90.



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