Fire-induced collapses of steel structures: Basic mechanisms and countermeasures

Alexandru Dondera, Luisa Giuliani

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review


Single-story steel buildings such as car parks and industrial halls are often characterised by stiff beams and flexible columns and may experience an outward (sway) collapse during a fire, endangering people and properties outside the building. It is therefore a current interest of the research to investigate the collapse behaviour of single-story steel frames and identify relevant structural characteristics that influence the collapse mode.
In this paper, a parametric study on the collapse a steel beam-column assembly with beam hinged connection and fixed column support is carried out under the assumption of a protected column and a standard temperature-time curve on the beam. The study shows that sway collapse can be avoided by increasing either the restrain offered by the column or the load-to-resistance ratio of the beam. It seems possible to extend these results to multi-span frames with bracing system, in case of a fire located on one outer span –situation that represents the worst case for the risk of sway collapse.
With respect to this type of frames, a methodology is proposed for the development of design tables that relate the profiles of the elements to the soliciting load on the beam. By means of those tables, a simple method for the assessment and the countermeasure of unsafe collapse mode of single-story steel buildings can be derived.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2013
Publication statusPublished - 2013
EventApplications of Structural Fire Engineering - Prague, Czech Republic
Duration: 19 Apr 201320 Apr 2013


ConferenceApplications of Structural Fire Engineering
Country/TerritoryCzech Republic


  • Steel frames in fire
  • Restrain grade
  • Loading rate
  • Thermo-plastic degradation
  • Thermal expansion
  • Thermal buckling
  • Catenary action
  • Pull-back
  • Sway and non-sway collapse


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