Training Options and Schedule


Thunderhead Engineering provides training on the use of our software as described in the sections below. Pathfinder training is typically scheduled in conjunction with PyroSim workshops.

Who Should Attend

  • AHJs
  • Fire Investigators
  • Fire Engineers
  • Fire Safety System designers
  • Smoke Management System designers
  • Risk Management Consultants
  • Insurance Assessors and Loss Adjusters
  • Building Surveyors

Workshop Benefits

  • Small class size gives you more one‐on‐one time with the instructor
  • Hands‐on application lets you learn from experience
  • Current, relevant information keeps you up‐to‐date with industry knowledge
  • Participants can pursue their FDS learning after the workshop through a supervised project with the instructor
  • A 90‐day license for the software is provided

PyroSim and FDS

FDS/PyroSim Workshop

This 2-day workshop is an introduction to FDS and PyroSim. It gives the big picture and is suitable for managers, AHJs (who don’t want to learn how make their own models) and beginning modellers. (Beginning modellers are encouraged to continue with the 1-day distance course workshop, which is an introduction to the details of the distance education course and also includes the fee for the distance education course.)

  • 2-day Workshop
  • Designed for beginning modellers and AHJs
  • Laptop required
  • Workshop fee $1,000 USD

Day 1:

  • Introduction to FDS and Smokeview
  • Hardware and Software Requirements
  • Elements of building a model
  • Hands-on Construction of a Simple model using PyroSim (The simulation will run overnight on the participant’s laptop.)

Day 2:

  • Using Smokeview to View the Results of a Simple model
  • Data Collection
  • Reactions
  • Fires
  • Materials
  • Surfaces
  • Sprinklers and Suppression
  • Performance-based Design, with Examples
  • Forensic Reconstructions, with Examples
  • Evaluating FDS Reports
  • Strengths and Weaknesses of FDS
  • Resources

FDS/PyroSim Distance Education Course

If you’re taking the 2‐day FDS/PyroSim Workshop and want to build your own models then you should also consider this second workshop. This 1-day introduction to the distance course is offered immediately following the 2-day FDS/PyroSim Workshop.

This class provides you the opportunity to work at your own pace and to create a realistic model. You will select a building to model from your own engineering practice and apply each concept to the model, as it is learned. You will then proceed at your own pace through the distance course, with support provided by email and/or web discussions.

For users desiring more in-depth guidance, David McGill offers a distance education class designed for modellers as a continuation of the 2-day Introduction to FDS and PyroSim workshop. This class provides the opportunity to create a realistic full-scale model. You will select a building to model from your own engineering practice and apply each concept as it is learned.

The 1-day introduction to the distance course is offered immediately following the 2-day FDS and PyroSim workshop. After the one-day introduction, you will proceed through the distance course at your own pace, with support provided through email and/or web discussions.

  • 1-day workshop that continues as a distance education course
  • Designed as a continuation of the 2-day FDS/PyroSim workshop
  • Laptop required
  • Combined 1-day introduction and distance course fee $1,400 USD

Advanced FDS/PyroSim Workshop

The advanced workshop will examine common practical problems encountered by fire protection engineers in creating and running FDS models efficiently. (It will not deal with research-level topics such as multi-layered materials or other subjects of primary interest to the research community.)

  • 2-day Workshop
  • For experienced modellers and AHJs
  • Laptop required
  • Workshop fee $1,000 USD


  • Choice of cell size
  • Building models from CAD and Revit files
  • Optimizing multiple meshes
  • Trouble-shooting numerical instabilities
  • Model validation and uncertainty
  • Hardware and software
  • HVAC


  • How FDS models fires
  • How FDS can and can’t extinguish a fire
  • Liquid fuels
  • Extra species
  • Multiple reactions (lumped species)
  • Advanced control features
  • Smokeview tours
  • Smokeview movies
  • Assorted Smokeview tricks
  • FDS review checklist


Pathfinder Workshop

This workshop is an introduction to Pathfinder, covering modeling concepts with extensive hands-on application.

  • 1-day Workshop
  • Designed for beginning modellers
  • Laptop required
  • Workshop fee $1,000 USD

Day 1:

  • Introduction to Evacuation Modelling
  • Creating Geometry
    • from an image
    • from CAD files
    • stairs
    • elevators
  • Occupants
    • profiles
    • behavior
    • assisted evacuation
  • Examples
  • Resources


Contact RockWare for details about PetraSim training (PetraSim Training)

Schedule and Locations

Contact David McGill (Training) for more details. The language used at these training sessions will be English, contact our international distributors for training in other languages.


Location Date Course
Olso, Norway – Status: Registration Opens August 21 at
Oct 16-17, 2017 PyroSim/FDS Workshop
Oct 18-19, 2017 Advanced PyroSim/FDS Workshop
Oct 20, 2017 Pathfinder Workshop
Toronto, Canada – Status: Registration Open
Oct 23-24, 2017 PyroSim/FDS Workshop
Oct 25-26, 2017 Advanced PyroSim/FDS Workshop
Oct 27, 2017 Pathfinder Workshop
London, UK – Status: Registration Open
April 23-24, 2018 PyroSim/FDS Workshop
April 25-26, 2018 Advanced PyroSim/FDS Workshop
April 27, 2018 Pathfinder Workshop


Click to register online and pay for a workshop.

If you want to express interest and be placed on an information mailing list, please indicate by sending an email to

In the event that a workshop must be cancelled due to inadequate enrollment, all fees will be refunded in full. Thunderhead Engineering is not responsible for reimbursement of non-refundable airline tickets in the event of a workshop cancellation. Please check on your workshop status (indicated on schedule) before making travel arrangements.

International Training Partners


SMH Adil
Global Evolutionary Energy Design
First Floor, D-15 A.F Enclave – 1, Jamia Nagar
New Delhi, 110025