Since graduating in 2013 with a first-class bachelor’s degree in physics from the University of Warwick, Tom has pursued a career in fire safety and risk management. His first position was as a Safety Engineer at DNV, completing quantitative risk assessments, estimating the likelihood and consequence of potential fire and explosion events within onshore, offshore and floating assets in the Oil & Gas industry. Results from these assessments allowed clients to evaluate the fire and explosion risk arising from their sites, to support design decisions ensuring compliance with legislative requirements.
Whilst at DNV, Tom also acted as an environmental auditor for the Safety Health and Environmental (SHE) audit team. Tom completed several site investigation, land remediation and gasholder demolition projects in the UK to support managing onsite hazards. This also provided Tom with experience in conducting health and safety investigations of lost time injury incidents, which can occur at construction sites.
Tom began a part-time Masters in Fire and Explosion Engineering at the University of Leeds, balancing work and studies for three years, before graduating with a Distinction in 2017. His dissertation involved research into ‘boiling liquid expanding vapour explosions’ (BLEVE), specifically involving liquified propane gas (LPG) aiming to further understand the impacts that several key parameters have on the severity of such events. The analysis included a series of modelling simulations alongside the results of a full-scale BLEVE test.
Prior to joining Hawkins, Tom worked as an Associate Fire Engineer at WSP where he gained expertise in developing fire engineering strategies within a range of sectors including residential/student accommodation, commercial premises, schools, universities, hotels, airports, hospitals and retail developments. Specific career highlights include fire safety designs for a mega-throughput COVID-19 testing laboratory, a high-rise, mixed-use development above a major London transport hub, and the refurbishment of a building with historical importance. By liaising closely with architects, contractors, the Fire Service and Building Control Authorities he was able to develop designs that satisfied Building Regulation fire safety requirements, whilst supporting the architectural vision for the building and minimising construction costs.
Tom joined Hawkins as an Associate Forensic Investigator in 2022 and is based in our Birmingham office.
At Hawkins, Tom utilises his fire safety experience to conduct investigations into fire engineering design and construction defects, as well as alleged breaches of fire safety management. This is often beneficial where a fire has spread considerably through a building, across fire compartmentation lines. Following his forensic investigations, Tom provides expert opinion on whether the building satisfied relevant legislation such as Part B (Fire Safety) of the Building Regulations 2010 and the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. These outcomes can advise clients on additional recovery and liability opportunities.
Tom also has experience in the forensic investigation of fires, with the purpose of establishing the likely cause and origin.