Estimating Door Open Time Distributions for Occupants Escaping from Apartments

Charlie Hopkin, Michael Spearpoint, Danny Hopkin, Yong Wang

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The door open time, resulting from occupants evacuating from apartments, is an important parameter when assessing the performance of smoke ventilation systems in high-rise apartment buildings. However, the values recommended in UK design guidance appear to have limited substantiation. Monte Carlo simulations have been carried out considering variabilities in door swing time, flow rate and number of occupants. It has been found that the door open time can be represented by a lognormal distribution with a mean of 6.6, 8.7 and 11.1 s and a standard deviation of 1.7, 3.2 and 4.7 s for one, two and three-bedroom apartments, respectively. For deterministic analyses, it is proposed that the 95th percentile values may be adopted in line with recommended practice for other fire safety design parameters such as fuel load density and soot yield, giving door open times of 10 s to 19 s, depending on the number of bedrooms.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-83
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of High-Rise Buildings
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2021


  • Residential fire safety
  • common corridor
  • doors
  • egress
  • smoke ventilation


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