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The paper presents how actions can be assessed for a performance-based structural fire safety design from the first formulations in the building program to the final derivations of the fire load to be applied for each structural member. In order to indicate what is of importance for the assessment of the requirements, a couple of simple analyses of structural response are made. The examples are chosen deliberately to show the difference between a traditional design based on standard fire resistance and a performance-based approach. A methodology is developed for a decision on the safety level and for a detailed assessment of the requirements. The design requirements to be used for a factory producing elements for industrial housing for unknown costumers are discussed, and a fully developed fire is recommended as a common requirement for domestic houses, hotels, offices, schools and hospitals. In addition it is shown how a fire brigade can be expected to perform in a building designed by means of the methodology. It has been the aim to give a simple and clear presentation and several simplifying concepts are introduced, because it has been experienced that this subject has led to many misunderstandings, and simplicity is needed if the methods presented should be operational.