1. SFPE Symposium in Slovenia


At the end of November and the beginning of December, the SFPE Symposium took place in Slovenia for the first time. We addressed the challenges and looked for correlations between fire safety and sustainable building design The event was attended by the world’s most prominent experts, and was officially opened by Mr. Chris Jelenewicz, CEO of SFPE, and the Minister of Economy, Tourism and Sport, Mr. Matjaž Han.

Sustainability challenges

Opening speech by Mr. Matjaž Han, Minister of Economy, Tourism and Sport.

We live in a time when we face ever-increasing environmental challenges and the construction industry is increasingly recognizing the importance of sustainable buildings that are both, energy efficient and environmentally friendly. Just as sustainability must be pursued, it is also necessary to consider the challenges and risks brought by sustainability.

Some new materials, technologies and functions create unpredictable fire hazards. Combining fire safety and sustainable building design is not only advisable, but, especially given the increasing number of modern electrical devices in and around our homes, public buildings and other built structures, it is of strategic importance.

SFPE Symposium

In this endeavour, the Slovenian National Building and Civil Engineering Institute (ZAG) partnered with the international US-based Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE), which, in cooperation with the Department of Fire-safe Sustainable Built Environment (EU project FRISSBE) at ZAG, organised the 1st SFPE SYMPOSIUM in Slovenia entitled “Engineering Solutions Symposium for Fire Safety and Sustainable Building Design”. Lectures and panel discussions took place on Wednesday, 29 November, and Thursday, 30 November, at the InterContinental Ljubljana.

Mr. Han thanked the organisations SFPE, SBRA and SZPV, and expressed gratitude and praise to ZAG, represented by the director, dr. Ales Žnidarič, for its focus on cutting-edge research and international cooperation:

“I would like to thank you for your efforts and wish you a successful event, full of exchange of knowledge and experience. If you are successful, and I believe you will be, your work will shape the future of our built environment and leave a legacy of safe, sustainable, and adaptable buildings that will stand the test of time.”

Around 100 people from all over the globe attended the event, listening to top experts from more than 10 countries. Invited speakers were academia and industry representatives who deal with fire safety and sustainability in different perspectives. Architects, decision makers, fire safety engineers, sustainability engineers, fire researchers, fire service representatives and sustainable developement experts provided multidisciplinary perspectives on the broad field of fire in built environment and sustainable design.

Participants included high-ranking representatives of organisations:

  • SFPE – Society of Fire Protection Engineers (CEO and president),
  • NFPA – The National Fire Protection Association (research director),
  • SZPV – Slovenian Fire Protection Association (president),
  • International Association of Fire Fighters (director of Health and Safety Operational Services),
  • International Association of Fire Safety Science (president) and
  • International Master of Science in Fire Safety Science (programme director).

Speakers and moderators of the first day of the SFPE Symposium.

Prof. Grunde Jomaas, Head of the Department of Fire-Safe Sustainable Built Environment at ZAG and ERA Chair for the FRISSBE project, presented the characteristics and objectives of the project, while senior researchers, Dr. Andrea Lucherini and Dr. Ulises Rojas Alva, shared the on-going research within the project team.

Fire extinguishing after the fire test in ZAG’s Fire Laboratory.

The programme is published on the official website of the main organiser. The event was supported by Danfoss, Evoks, Rockwool, Knauf and media partner International Fire and Fire Safety Journal. The event was also attended by the editor of the well-known podcast “Fire Science Show“. You are kindly invited to view the photo highlights of the Symposium in the gallery below.


Finishing in our Fire laboratory

The Symposium closed on Friday, 1 December, with an optional excursion to Logatec, home to ZAG’s new Fire laboratory, the most modern fire laboratory in this part of Europe. Participants were invited to observe the live fire resistance test of a full-scale loaded cross-laminated timber (CLT) wall in a vertical furnace, sponsored by Stora Enso and well executed by the Fire Laboratory team.

The test, which lasted for about an hour and a half, was accompanied by a discussion on the expected results. Dr. Andrea Lucherini also gave a presentation on the importance of research in ensuring fire safety of timber buildings.