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There is much discussion in the United States regarding the transition to the use of performance-based codes and fire safety design methods. To provide a common forum for discussion on this transition, the Society of Fire Protection Engineers convened a focus group of representatives from the United States' fire and building communities to discuss concepts and components of a performance-based regulatory system. A conceptual model, terminology and definitions were distributed to the group as a basis for discussion. Participants were asked to provide comments. Preliminary response to the conceptual model, terminology and definitions was positive. All comments received were compiled and distributed to all participants, and a two-day meeting was convened on 2526 April 1996 to facilitate discussion and gain consensus on the future direction for the United States. This paper will present the conceptual model and the focus group consensus on the direction for a performance-based regulatory system in the United States.