Richard started his scientific career undertaking two six-month industrial placements during his third year of his Applied Chemistry degree at the University of Portsmouth. The first six months were spent working in the Chemistry Section of the Naval Aircraft Materials Laboratory (NAML) where he undertook a wide range of analytical work as well as being involved in investigating mid-air collisions of MOD aircraft. This was Richard’s first experience of scientific investigative work. The second six months were spent working in the fuel additive section of Nalco Exxon Energy Chemicals, based at Fawley Oil refinery. He was responsible for testing and identifying the fuel additives for multi-national petroleum companies and the development of new additives. After completing his degree, Richard continued to study at the University of Portsmouth for his PhD, researching the effect of magnetic fields on the growth of sulphate reducing bacteria.
After leaving University Richard worked for a Dorset based electronic and materials development company. He worked on projects to develop both corrosion monitoring equipment for helicopters, as well as crack detection systems for the rail industry. During his time at the company he worked within a team to investigate the cause of a major UK rail incident.
In 2006 Richard joined Hawkins and quickly specialised himself in the discipline of fire investigation. He has since carried out over 800 investigations related to fires and explosions, ranging in scale from small domestic incidents to multi-million pound losses at commercial and industrial premises, as well as investigating fires involving motor cars, HGVs and plant equipment. He developed and applied a novel approach to presenting crucial witness evidence; related to a multi-million pound fire loss at a large industrial site. Richard has a particular interest in fires and personal injuries involving fireworks and other type of pyrotechnic devices.
Richard is experienced in the legal process and preparation of CPR 35 complaint reports. He has attended arbitrations and given evidence as an expert witness in Court.
Since joining Hawkins, Richard has undertaken the BOHS P100 Asbestos Survey course, Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, Level 2 Conflict Resolution and Personal Safety, the Bond Solon Expert Witness Familiarisation course and Confined Space Training. Richard is a member of the Association of Stage Pyrotechnicians, having completed the ASP Practical Pyrotechnics Safety Awareness Course in 2016. Richard has also attended UK-AFI Training Conferences and presented to insurance forums and loss adjusters.
Richard has been a Senior Associate since 2013 and is based in Hawkins’ Birmingham Office.