Traditional fire safety design

The building must be designed and implemented in such a way that it meets the essential technical fire safety requirements for its intended use. The risk of fire must be limited and the building's load-bearing structures must be able to withstand the required minimum time in the event of a fire, in order to ensure safe evacuation, rescue operations and fire control. 

Fire safety planning in Finland is based on the Decree 848/2017 on the fire safety of buildings by Ministry of the Environment. The Decree allows design according to preset fire classes and numerical values (traditional “use of dimensioning tables”) or based on assumed fire development (performance-based fire safety design). Decree 848/2017 took effect on January 1st, 2018, and was supplemented by amendment regulation 927/2020 on 1st of January 2021.

Traditional fire safety design is based on the division according to the intended use of the buildings and predetermined fire load groups, as well as the testing and classification of the fire properties of building components in accordance with European EN standards. Buildings, building components, and construction products have all their own individual fire classification systems which are common between EU member states.

In traditional fire safety design the building is considered to meet the essential technical fire safety requirements when its properties meets the class and number values given in the regulations dimensioning tables. This means that traditional design leads to a predetermined level of fire safety that is considered nationally adequate.

In traditional design the fire load will be taken into account according to the standard fire curve according to standard EN 1363-1. However, In standard fire the fire load does not burn to the end during the fire. This means temperature of the fire rises throughout the fire scenario. In a real fire, the fire load is often significantly lower – especially in buildings equipped with automatic fire extinguishing equipments. When the fire load (in other words, combustible material of real fire situation) ends, fire may subside significantly before required fire resistance time of the building components has been reached. Because of that traditional design often leads to unnecessary overdimensioning the fire safety level without improving the real fire safety level.

Advantages and limitations of traditional design




  • traditional design is quick and affordable method
    if there is no need to deviate from preset classes and numerical values given in regulations
  • several qualified fire safety engineers available
  • authorities can, for justified reasons, accept small deviations from the classes and numerical values of regulations


  • no opportunities for cost savings or reducing the carbon footprint
  • more expensive structural and fire engineering solutions than defined by performance-based fire safety design
  • may limit the architectural design of the building and the use of the building
  • does not take into account the real fire loads or other individual characteristics
  • not suitable for innovative structural solutions
  • is only suitable to a limited extent for exceptionally demanding constructions with significant deviations from classes and numerical values.

You can find answers to questions about traditional design on our FAQ.

When you want to build cost-effectively, save on construction costs and reduce the building’s carbon footprint, it’s good to take conversation with our fire safety designers about using performance-based design. Read more:

Traditional fire safety design can be justified in terms of its price and speed in simple projects such as ordinary residential buildings. However, if residential buildings are equipped with automatic extinguishing equipment, it is more reasonable to design fire safety with performance-based design – especially if you want to influence the construction costs and the building’s carbon footprint. In a case of large construction site equipped with automatic extinguishing equipment the cost savings achieved by performance-based design can be millions of euros.

It is also good to note that often in many sport halls, industrial halls and other similar buildings big cost savings can be achieved with performance-based design even without automatic extinguishing equipment.