FIRE AWAY: Fire as a driver for innovation in Construction

Fire safety is about saving lives, not buildings. That is why it may be difficult to understand why we do not pay more attention to fire safety when developing innovative solutions for buildings, whether in terms of design, materials or interiors. Of course, legislation imposes certain stipulations, which must be complied with, but fire requirements are perceived more as a barrier and hindrance than as an inspiration to explore new avenues. That is what we would like to change. 

So how do we transform fire safety from being something burdensome to being a trigger for innovation? Therefore, we are asking you: How can we create innovative, intelligent, smart, creative and unusual building solutions, which focus on fire safety? Can we use alternative construction materials or put materials together in new ways? Can we think in terms of new forms of building design and construction? Or in terms of new interiors and layouts, when we know that interiors are actually the leading cause of fire? And can we also incorporate accessibility, indoor climate, energy efficiency and sustainability, so our buildings become, not only safer, but also better for us to be in and better for the environment? 


In Denmark, every year about 80 people lose their lives as a result of fires in buildings. In order for a building to be considered fireproof, it must comply with the fire safety requirements of the Danish Building Code. These requirements stipulate that certain parts of the building must be built with materials and structures, which can withstand fire. 

The parts, which are subject to these requirements, are:

• Bearing and stabilising building components: i.e. outer and inner walls, and columns and beams on every floor of the building
• Horizontal divisions between the building’s floors
• Cladding of walls or the underside of ceilings, both oblique and horizontal
• Roofing
• Insulation materials 

Read more about fire conditions in the Building Code here (only in Danish) 


The task
Present in words or images an idea for new construction solutions, which incorporate fire safety. 

Your proposal might, for example, be based on:
•Â New building design – ideas for how we could organise and formulate buildings
•Â New building materials – ideas for using new materials or for using familiar materials in new ways
•Â New interiors – ideas for new solutions inside buildings 

In terms of your idea, you might take the following parameters into consideration:
•Â Warning: Does your solution alert people to overheating and smoke?
•Â Reaction: In the event of incipient fire, does your solution trigger a reaction or change?
•Â Redning: Rescue: Does your solution support evacuation in the event of fire, e.g. via the façade?
•Â Combustion and smoke formation: How does your solution perform during a fire?
•Â Division of labour: Does your solution contribute anything to other elements in the building in the event of a fire? 

In your proposal you should describe clearly how your solution incorporates fire safety. 

Upload your idea

Your proposal should explain clearly and simply how to tackle the challenge. You can present your proposal via text, images, illustrations or video. Files must not exceed 20 MB.

(Your idea does not have to be complete. You are welcome to upload a sketch and complete it a later point, after you have received feedback from Innosite, the organiser of the competition or other users.)

If your proposal has been wholly or partly drawn up in the context of a previous competition or project, or is already in a state of realization, you must inform us of that. However, we would like to stress that it will not affect the jury’s selection of the winners.

Criteria for judging

The winning ideas will be chosen by a jury after the competition deadline. The names of the Jury will be announced in Week 48. 

Proposals will be assessed on the basis of their creative and innovative qualities and, to a great extent, on how feasible they would be to realise. In their evaluation the jury will place special emphasis on how proposals respond to the following points: 
• Creativity
• Innovation
• Feasibility
• Sustainability (social, economic, environmental, climatic) 


1st prize: DKK 30,000

2nd prize: DKK 5,000 

3rd prize: DKK 5,000

The winning ideas and other selected ideas will be published in a publicly accessible ideas catalogue. 

We will also offer prizes to the week’s best proposal or to the most active member. So upload your entry in good time and get feedback on it as well as the chance to improve your submission or help others with inspiration and knowledge. 

Competition period

The deadline for uploading submissions is 7 January 2015 at 11.59 pm (GMT + 1). 

Registration and Submission

In order to upload your idea, you must register as a user on

Register as a user here 

If you wish to enter as a team, you can do so by registering a group on the site.

About the organizer of the competition

The Danish Institute of Fire and Security Technology (DBI) is Denmark’s information centre for fire safety and security and works to protect lives and property. We develop our knowledge through relevant research and development activities, providing technical services to companies, institutions and authorities. In our laboratories we test new materials for construction, shipping and the offshore sector. This means we can guarantee that materials achieve a level of safety, which complies with regulatory requirements.

The FIRE AWAY competition is part of a project, in which DBI are focusing on fire as a source of inspiration in construction. We wish to encourage the development of ideas and products, which incorporate fire into materials, equipment and building design, with a view to raising the level of safety in our buildings and to generate new and innovative solutions.

Competition website: