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 […]

Shimin Zhuang

Shimin graduated from the National University of Singapore in 2014 with an honours degree in Civil Engineering. After graduating, he joined YWL Engineering Singapore and gained design experience related to heavy infrastructure sectors and geotechnical finite element analysis. During this time, he also completed a Masters in Geotechnical Engineering at the National University of Singapore and graduated with distinction. In 2016, Shimin joined ERSS Consultants and specialised in the design and construction of deep basements, retaining walls and reinforced soils. He was assigned as a representative of temporary works Qualified Persons (Design) for a national underground metro station and in charge of construction support until the completion of the station box. In 2019, Shimin joined AECOM Singapore as a Geotechnical Engineer and qualified as a Professional Engineer in civil engineering with the Professional Engineers Board Singapore. During his time with AECOM, Shimin was involved in the design and construction of various types of large-scale projects, such as a subsea segmental tunnel, large diameter deep shafts, bored pile foundations, pile-enhanced raft and foundations using barrettes and diaphragm walls for metro stations and cut & cover tunnels. Shimin joined Hawkins in 2021 as a member of the expanding geotechnical engineering capability of […]

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 […]

Austen Smith

Austen is a UK Registered Architect, Chartered Architect, Chartered Construction Manager and Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. Austen graduated from the University of Huddersfield in 1995 with a degree in Architecture.  He completed his Architectural Studies at both the University of Huddersfield in 2001 and the University of Central England in 2005 upon which he became a UK registered and Chartered Architect. His architectural career has spanned across Europe, the Middle East, the CIS and Australia and covered projects such as Terminal Five at Heathrow Airport London, where he was responsible for the co-ordination of the Gate Seating level through scheme design to completion on site, London Bridge Concourse, where he was responsible for the delivery of the redevelopment of the station concourse built as part of the Shard from scheme design to completion on site and the Midfield Terminal at Abu Dhabi Airport where he was responsible for the fit out of 15,000m2 of premium lounges from scheme design through to completion on site. The majority of Austen’s architectural career has been spent on site dealing directly with clients, consultants and contractors.  Whilst the majority of Austen experience has come from transport projects his sector experience has […]

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 […]

Jessica Ng

Following the completion of her first degree in Physical Science, Jessica went on to pursue a Master’s degree in Forensic Science from King’s College London in 2012. Jessica joined Hawkins HFS in 2015, specialising in fire and explosion investigation and agricultural cargo claims. Since joining the company, Jessica has been involved in investigating fires and explosion incidents both in Hong Kong and overseas. Jessica has investigated the causes of fires in residential and commercial premises, as well as appliance and vehicle fires. On the marine side, Jessica has investigated fires on container and bulk cargo vessels and provided advice on ‘live’ ship fires involving cargoes such as coal and other agricultural products. She has investigated the causes of cargo contamination on tankers and been involved in cases involving liquefaction of nickel ore, which includes witnessing laboratory tests to determine the moisture content and flow point. Jessica has been heavily involved with agricultural bulk cargo claims pertaining to soybean and DDGS in particular. She is experienced with providing advice on the carriage and care of the cargo, the sampling techniques, and the laboratory analysis used to determine the physical and chemical properties of the cargo. In April 2016, Jessica successfully completed […]

Yang Dang

Yang graduated from the National University of Singapore in 2008 with a first class honours degree in Civil Engineering. He was award Lee Kuan Yew gold medal for graduating as the best student. After graduating, Yang joined Arup as a Graduate Engineer in Singapore, where he has designed the steel connections for the hotel atrium of integrated resort Marina Bay Sands. In 2009, Yang studied for a Masters degree at Stanford University.  As part of his study, Yang undertook research to review constitutive modelling of engineered cementitious composites for earthquake engineering applications. Yang returned to Arup in Singapore following the completion of his study at Stanford University.  During his 2 years with Arup, Yang has worked on the Fusionoplis Phase 2A project, where he was responsible for the design of superstructures consisting of post-tensioned systems, and the Capitol project where he was involved in the design of basement structures. For the following 7 years, Yang predominately worked on the design and site management of a number of large-scale projects with roles as both a consultant and contractor.  During this time, he was stationed in Dubai periodically to work with local consultants and clients for projects in the UAE. Yang has […]

Chun Chan

Prior to his arrival in Hong Kong, Chun worked at Technip Umbilicals as a metallurgy development engineer and was responsible for planning and managing research & development projects. He provided technical support to the manufacturing team and conducted engineering critical assessment and material failure analysis on damaged products at the factory. Through his study and work, Chun is familiar with many mechanical testing methods such as tensile, fatigue and hardness testing. He also has experience using a range of material analysis techniques such as x-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscope (SEM), and energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy (EDAX). Chun joined Hawkins in 2016, specialising in metallurgy, corrosion and welding failures. Since joining the company, he has been involved in conducting material failure analysis and corrosion product assessment. Some of  his investigations have included inspecting water damage to lift components, failures in pipework, mechanical failures in load-bearing components (such as metal wire ropes and bearings), damage to glass panes and window frames, and chemical cargo contamination. He has also provided on-site assistance for incidents involving container fires, collapse of a material hoist, power generation failure and road traffic collisions. Chun is fluent in English, Cantonese, and Mandarin and is a Senior Associate at […]