Welcome to the York University fire safety engineering research group’s website! Our team’s research interests include resilient structural fire design, human behaviour in fire, sustainable construction materials, and re-purposing (or adaptation) of building infrastructure. The team is located at York University in Toronto Canada.
We are a team of fifteen strong of graduate and undergraduate research education in fire safety with emphasis on applied research. This website’s purpose is to make our research and related engineering interests readily available to the public.
Our research group has its origins from the University of Edinburgh, UK. Following a substantial infrastructure and development commitment at York University by the federal and provincial governments to establish a fire safety engineering research group, our team is predominately based in Toronto. Our research team actively maintains student exchanges with University of Waterloo and Worcester Polytechnic Institute.
The team is led by professional engineer, Dr. John Gales. Dr. Gales is also Associate Editor of Fire and Materials (John Wiley) one of the world’s leading fire engineering journals, He is also an Associate Editor of the Canadian Journal of Civil Engineering (CJCE) a leading engineering journal in Canada. To date he has approximately 140 scientific contributions. He is one of four Task Group Chairs in the Fire Protection Committee of the American Society of Civil Engineers, the leading structural fire committee in the United States. As task group chair in 2018 he was responsible for significant portions of the ASCE Manual on Engineering Practice for Structural Fire Engineering. This document represents community consensus on performing fire engineering in the United States. He is also Chair of the committee on Fire Behaviour and Safety of Structures of the Canadian Society of Civil Engineers and was recent chair of ASTM’s 100 years of fire testing workshop which represents developments for international standardization. With emphasis on scholarly training for future fire engineers he leads a team that has been recipients of 47 major scholarships and awards in the last 4 years.
Our work is heavily focused on practical research which can be applied in consultancy. The majority of my partners are leading firms based in Toronto.
Our team is active in various international collaborations and student exchanges related to fire safety engineering research with the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, Imperial College London in the United Kingdom, CERIB in France, and NIST in the USA. Our principle industry collaborators are the consulting firms Arup (Human behaviour in emergencies such as fire) and Entuitive (structural fire engineering).
Teaching and Education
For our team’s graduate degrees principally offered through York University’s Civil Engineering program, we emphasize the following fire engineering graduate courses either through VOD or in class on site (York):
- Fire Resilience of Structures
- Human Behavior in Fire
- Fire Dynamics
- Fire Modelling
See Dr. Gales’ twitter @GalesFireSafety
Follow us on Instagram @YorkUFire
Media requests for team lead Dr. John Gales are best made via email for rapid answer (text interviews in French can be accommodated if requested). Inquires can be made via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Want to join us? See Prospective Students.
Heritage structures are prevalent worldwide. Our research team in collaboration with various European partners is studying construction material response in fire and its repair-ability after fire. Our focus is on masonry, and Timber. In addition our team has interest in testing historic materials using contemporary testing to better understand how older test data translates to…
Timber Structures (Tall and Small)
Since 2015 we have been studying timber structures as they are growing increasingly popular in Tall building initiatives. In Toronto, Canada alone 4 high rise structures are planned. Our work was motivated by the Kingston City Conflagration of 2013. Our group explicitly considers Glulam and Laminated Veneer Lumbers. Our focus is experimental and numerical. And…
This research programme, Steel Resilience in Fire, is a multi-industry collaboration with various stakeholders in the steel industry and academia. The research programme’s goal is to develop alternative design solutions which can be implemented within the current Canadian building code as well as appropriate education to train engineers to perform performance based designs. Our partners…
Post-Tensioned Concrete and Bridge Cables
The project considers both the ambient and high temperature performance of post-tensioned structures (from material components to full structure behavior). Most research has focused on the concrete configuration although the timber configuration is also being considered now. It began by considering the mechanical characterization of prestressing steel cables in both ambient and high temperature – with a…
Modelling Human Behaviour for Improving Infrastructure in Canada
This research studies how human behaviour effects our built environment. Basically how in emergencies we need to plan for real behaviour of people and plan the buildings design appropriately to ensure everyone can escape or leave before untenable situations arise. Subsequently we study real behaviour and our team’s strength is the collection of real human…
Research on Retention of Women in Engineering
A long-standing issue in the field of engineering has been the representation of women. Of the students that pursue undergraduate studies, half are women. However, to this day, women make up only 21% of engineering undergraduate students in Canada. This number has not significantly changed in almost 20 years. Additionally, women make up only 17% of newly…
Wildland Urban Interface (WUI)
The occurrence of deadly and destructive wildfires affecting wildland urban interface (WUI) communities in recent years has drawn attention to the need to better ensure the safety of those living in these vulnerable areas. Our current focus is on WUI fire evacuations and the role of human behaviour in fire and evacuation decision making. We…