Nico Zurcher

Prior to becoming an investigator, Nico worked in a international environmental consultancy where he was involved in a number of major government marine projects in Hong Kong, as well as oil and gas, and mining projects around Asia. In 2011 he joined HFS-Asia in Hong Kong, where he worked as a fire investigator and consulting scientist. In 2015, Nico moved to London where he joined Hawkins to bolster our growing International and Shipping Incidents team. He continued investigating a broad range of land-based and marine incidents, both in the UK and internationally. He was also a member of our contamination team, taking on cases in the UK and Europe. Hawkins acquired HFS-Asia in 2016 and in 2020 Nico returned to Hong Kong to head the office he helped to build several years earlier. Nico has investigated several fires in large industrial plants, as well as in commercial and residential premises. On the marine side, he has investigated major fires on container and general cargo vessels. He has worked on numerous cases of bulk cargo spoilage, involving grains, oil seeds and seedcake. Nico has also worked on cases involving the carriage and storage of mixed chemical cargoes, and the contamination of […]

Chris Botham

Chris began his engineering career in 1978 as an apprentice welding and fabrication engineer at National Oilwell, working on projects for the oil and chemical industries. After completing his apprenticeship Chris began work as a welding and fabrication engineer at Fairey Engineering in Manchester, where he worked on projects for the Nuclear Industry and the Ministry of Defence. In the mid 1980s Chris worked for Cunnington & Cooper as a Design Engineer after gaining a Higher National Diploma in Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering. After completing a lecturer’s qualification and Honours Degree in Mechanical Engineering, Chris became a lecturer in Engineering subjects at Stockport College of Technology. Chris completed his Masters Degree in 1996 and began work as a Senior Structural Analyst at the National Nuclear Corporation on projects for the Nuclear Industry and the Ministry of Defence involving finite element analysis and engineering design. Chris brought his wealth of experience to Hawkins in 1999 where he trained in Forensic Engineering and now predominantly investigates incidents and failures involving machinery, product design and manufacture, and personal injury. Chris also carries out investigations into the causes of floods, failures of civil engineering structures and composite materials. These investigations have ranged from small […]

Chris Wareham

After he graduated, Chris completed a doctoral research project on the isotope and trace element chemistries of precious- and base-metal mineral deposits in the Rocky Mountains. Following a brief spell contributing to a variety of research projects at the NERC Isotope Geoscience Laboratory he joined the British Antarctic Survey and headed for the mountains of Antarctica, where he continued his research using isotopes and trace elements. Chris published many scientific papers before leaving academia in 1998 to join Hawkins at our Cambridge office, after which he opened the Glasgow office in 2008 and the Dubai office in 2014. During this time he has investigated 1200 incidents in Europe, the Americas, Asia, the Middle East and Africa. His investigations include fires, dust and vapour explosions, electrical and mechanical failures, product defects, personal injuries/fatalities, and post-incident contamination assessments; the incidents have occurred in many environments such as refineries, power plants, retail, manufacturing, construction, agriculture, mining, warehouses, hotels, hospitals, dwellings and ships/aircraft/trains/automotive. The root causes he regularly encounters involve systems’ failures and process faults, equipment and materials’ failures of all types and ‘human intervention’ (e.g. fraud, ‘poor practices’ and breaches of Regulations such as DSEAR). Chris has extensive experience in the litigation process […]

David Rose

David’s career started in the Technical Services and Development Laboratory at the BP facility in Hythe. He then moved on to study anti-oxidant behaviour in lubricating oils for his PhD at the School of Chemistry at Leeds University. After graduation he studied hydrocarbon combustion as a research fellow. In 1993 David joined the Defence Research Agency (latterly known as DERA) working for the Fuels & Lubricants Centre in Farnborough, running the Fluids Handling and Flammability Hazards laboratories. His research varied from developing methods of preventing gearbox explosions, self-cleaning filtration systems, the compression ignition of hydraulic fluids to fuel reformation for fuel cells. He acted as a consultant to the Armed Forces concerning fire hazards associated with fuels and lubricants. David became interested in forensic investigation while working as part of the DERA TWA 800 air accident investigation team, investigating the destruction of a Boeing 747 that was caused by the ignition of a fuel-air mixture in the centre wing tank. Since joining Hawkins in 2001, David has carried out several hundred forensic investigations involving petrochemicals, confined space entry, fire and explosion incidents both in the United Kingdom and overseas. These cases have included small scale incidents to multi-million pound losses […]

John Holland

An Intel scholar, John graduated with a 1st Class Honours Degree in Mechanical Engineering from University College Dublin, Ireland in 2000. As part of his degree he developed an automatic moisture sensor for use in the peat industry for which he was awarded the Hewlett Packard national award for innovation in engineering. After a brief period with Schlumberger Oilfield Services in Peru, John returned to Ireland to take up a position with Teradyne Connection Systems, before joining Timoney Technology as a mechanical design engineer, where he specialised in the design and development of Hydropneumatic Suspension Systems for specialty off road vehicles. In this role he also gained considerable experience with computer aided engineering techniques such as Finite Element Analysis and Vehicle Multi-body Dynamic Analysis. John was appointed engineering manager with Timoney Technology and took over full technical responsibility for all engineering projects and products. Projects of note include the DARPA Unmanned Ground Combat Vehicle, the USMC Gladiator Tactical Unmanned Vehicle and the Timoney ADT Independent Suspension Axle System manufactured under licence by Terex Equipment Ltd. John was also involved with the Ginaf Rally Power and DeRooy race teams for the 2007 Dakar Rally and has numerous automotive suspension patents filed […]

Ian Major

Ian started his career working for Aspen Burrow Crocker on a variety of civil engineering projects. He was involved in the design of numerous highway and infrastructure schemes, waste transfer stations and the Thameslink rail project. He has also spent time supervising construction work on site including a year working at wastewater treatment plants. In 1999, Ian joined Hyder Consulting where he spent 11 years working predominantly on the design and project management of major infrastructure projects including the N5 in Ireland, the A2 widening in Kent and the A421 improvements in Bedfordshire. Ian joined Hawkins in 2010, specialising in the investigation of property damage and personal injuries involving civil engineering and building incidents. He is also an experienced fire investigator, having investigated over 200 fires including major and complex losses in domestic, commercial and industrial premises. In his specialist field of engineering, Ian has determined the causes of a wide range of losses from small domestic claims of water ingress through to catastrophic building collapses. Other examples of incidents that Ian has investigated include wall failures, subsidence, flooding and problems associated with ground-borne vibration. Much of this work has involved advising on matters in relation to the requirements of […]

Paul Lemon

Paul is a full-time specialist in the niche area of slips, trips and stair fall incident investigation, and leads Hawkins’ work in this area. He is a sought-after Expert Witness in this field, regularly preparing reports and giving evidence in Court. He was part of the small HSE team that developed HSE’s early understanding of the causes of pedestrian slips, trips and stair falls. Paul’s work at HSE’s Laboratories (HSL) involved leading and coordinating research in these subject areas, and led to him serving as HSE’s principal Expert Witness for cases involving pedestrian accidents, presenting evidence to Magistrates’ Courts, Crown Courts and at Coroner’s Inquests. On becoming HSL’s Research Technical Leader for slips, trips and stair falls, Paul continued to lead HSL’s research into these subjects, including their input into a large pan-European research project and managing the two largest research projects into slips and falls ever undertaken by HSE. He maintained responsibility for the authorisation of HSL’s slip, trip and stair fall forensic reports and represented HSE on several British Standards Committees, taking part in the production of numerous HSE Guidance documents and National Standards (such as BS7976-2 and BS5395-1) concerning slips, trips and stair falls. He has developed […]

Rosalind Lambert-Porter

Rosalind is an acoustics consultant with degrees in both Audiology and Acoustics. With consulting experience in the United Kingdom, Africa and Australia, she has had a varied career in different sectors from vibration monitoring in mining and creation of hearing conservation programmes through to environmental noise impact and school acoustics design. Her particular area of interest, given her background in both hearing science and noise control, is in acoustics in the workplace with a focus on the impact of noise on wellbeing. She is the Regional Manager of our Cambridge Office.

Gareth Dobinson

Gareth started his career in engineering with an industrial placement during his third year at Loughborough University. The twelve months were spent working for Xerox as a Systems Engineer where he undertook a wide range of engineering work as well as developing a system to monitor paper control timings for a paper transport module. As part of his placement he spent five months working in Venray, Netherlands, integrating new products into the manufacturing line. On completion of his placement he received a bursary from Xerox for the final two years of his degree. His final year project was sponsored by Xerox and investigated “The environmental effects on glass reinforced plastic”. After completing his degree Gareth joined Xerox on their Graduate Engineering programme based in Welwyn Garden City. During his five years at Xerox, Gareth obtained a wealth of experiences in both the mechanical and software aspects of engineering. He started working in the Mechanical group where he was the lead engineer on a paper handling module. This was followed up by two long term assignments to Senai, Malaysia and Wilsonville, USA. During his third year at Xerox Gareth undertook a conversion course in Software Engineering. The skills learnt on this […]

Luke Collins

Following his Masters in Aerospace Engineering, Luke worked as a Dynamic Test Technician for Ipeco Holdings Ltd, a leading manufacturer of civil and military aircraft seating. In 2009, Luke joined Hannaford Forensic Services Ltd (Hannafords), specialising in the forensic investigation of vehicle fires. During his time at Hannafords, he undertook over 150 investigations, which included road vehicles from all classifications, as well as a large number of off-road plant equipment. To assist with the investigations, Luke successfully completed a VOSA Public Service Vehicle Inspection Procedures and Standards course. On several occasions, he prepared expert witness reports for use in civil litigation and has presented in court in Southampton. In 2011, Hannafords extended into Asia opening a Hong Kong office (HFS-Asia). Luke undertook marine fire investigations, including engine room fires and cargo hold fires. During this time, Luke obtained a Diploma in Marine Investigation from Lloyds Maritime Academy. In 2014, Luke joined Hawkins’ office in Reigate, Surrey. He has expanded his expertise into the field of fire and explosion investigation of domestic and commercial properties, factories and process plants, whilst continuing vehicle and marine fire investigation work. In 2014, Luke completed John DeHaan Theoretical and Practical Fire Investigation courses at Gardiner […]