Fire Engineering

The potential consequences of decisions regarding fire protection design, construction and management have been highlighted by recent fires in high-rise residential buildings in the UK, as well as the rest of the world. Insufficient consideration of fire safety management and protection provisions can have massive financial implications, and could lead to civil and/or criminal proceedings.

The Institution of Fire Engineers defines Fire Engineering as:

‘Fire Engineering is the application of scientific and engineering principles, rules [codes], and expert judgement, based on an understanding of the phenomena and effects of fire and of the reaction and behaviour of people to fire, to protect people, property and the environment from the destructive effects of fire.’

Therefore, fire engineers have essential relevant skills, knowledge and experience of the application of ‘fire science’, fire protection provisions, operations and the associated regulations and guidance information. This allows fire engineers to understand, explain and interpret this aspect of the built environment, and relevant factors in these types of proceedings.

Our experts have experience in the design, construction and management of fire protection provisions in a variety of buildings, including high-rise residential. This allows them to understand the likely original design intentions of the fire safety provisions, including how various changes, such as new building work, refurbishment, extension, or a change in use might impact the original decisions.

In addition, invaluable experience gained from visiting buildings following real fire incidents also consolidates our experts’ understanding of fire behaviour, and assists in their assessment of the potential impacts of not only design and construction defects, but also poor management and maintenance.

WHY APPOINT A FORENSIC FIRE ENGINEER?

Before a fire occurs, we are able to offer fire protection advice, including, but not limited to:

  • Review of the design and construction documentation to determine whether regulatory requirements in relation to fire safety and/or client project-specific aims are met
  • Inspection of the completed building to determine whether a structure has been built to the design drawings and to the regulatory requirements

Following a fire, in addition to identifying the cause, our experts can also assist in a variety of other ways, including:

  • Identification of deficiencies in the design, construction, or maintenance of fire protection provisions in a building, which may have contributed to the spread of the fire through the building, or to neighbouring buildings
  • Review of the adequacy of design and construction stage fire safety and fire protection provisions, such as means of warning (fire alarm and detection), means of escape, the potential for fire to spread to neighbouring buildings, the adequacy of access provisions for the Fire Service and facilities for their use
  • Expert advice for repair/remedial works
  • Assistance in establishing where legal liability lies
  • Expert advice with regards to criminal proceedings under safety regulations (e.g. the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order)

Our specialists can provide expert witness testimony if the case proceeds to Court.

EXAMPLES OF RECENT CASES INCLUDE:

  • Fire spread over fire resisting compartment walls in roof voids
  • Fire spread past fire resisting cavity barriers within an external wall void
  • Fire spread within the external façade material during refurbishment
  • Fire spread through fire resisting compartment floors via a service shaft
  • Criminal proceedings relating to the adequacy of the fire risk assessment undertaken as part of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005

Contact Sarah Hooton and/or James Clarke for more information, and with any enquiries you may have.

Before a fire occurs, fire engineers are able to offer fire protection advice, while following a fire, they can aid in identifying the cause and establishing legal liability.

Contact Us

Submitting this contact form will enter your details into our contacts database and we will reply to your request as soon as possible. We will also retain your details so we may contact you from time to time. You can ask us to remove your details at any time. For details, see our Privacy Notice.