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Fire safety engineering

Understanding the core of fire safety engineering
We're minimising the risk and uncertainty around fire safety issues in building construction by uncovering what urgent action is required to find solutions owned and led by the built environment.

The delivery of major infrastructure and buildings requires detailed planning, design and construction. Robust but efficient approval procedures are vital to ensure safety.

The process necessitates that all parties involved in the development understand and are appropriately qualified to deliver. This is particularly true for fire safety engineering.

The risks associated with failed fire safety were made clear by London's Grenfell fire tragedy in 2017, which caused the deaths of 71 residents and injured a further seventy.

The Grenfell tragedy was believed to be exacerbated by combustible external cladding that enabled the fire to ascend rapidly unimpeded, despite the efforts of fire crews.

This event triggered a public inquiry in the United Kingdom and multiple parallel reviews around the world, including here in Australia.

While many inquiries are focused on products and appropriate cladding, we recognise that there is a much bigger issue to be considered that speaks to the core of fire safety engineering.

To date, The Warren Centre has released nine specific reports on this topic. They are:

  • the Regulation, Control and Accreditation Report (PDF, 4.7MB), examining the current requirements or controls over practitioners employed or engaged in the building industry in the practice of fire safety engineering; 
  • the Education Report (PDF, 4.6MB), discussing the current status of education and training of fire safety engineers; as well as the competencies which are expected of a fire safety engineering professional;
  • the Methods Report (PDF, 3.9MB), which takes a closer look at international guidelines and methods currently used and considers where fundamental change is needed for Australia; 
  • the Roles Report (PDF, 8.1MB), exploring the future role, competencies, education, accreditation, audit and enforcement and regulatory controls for fire safety engineering in Australia;
  • the Competencies Report (PDF, 2.4MB), which points towards an accreditation framework for professional engineers in fire safety; 
  • the Professional Development Report (PDF, 9.7MB), addresses the resource and skill constraints hindering the full professionalisation of fire safety engineering, in order to one day achieve a sustainable provision of fire safety engineering professionals; 
  • the Accreditation and Regulatory Reform Report (PDF, 11MB), sets a plan for how Australia should assess and accredit engineers who seek to practice fire safety design and take responsibility for public safety in their work; 
  • the Final Report (PDF, 13.3MB), develops a pragmatic plan on a transition from the current state of fire safety engineering and design in Australia, which differs across states and territories in relation to regulation, registration, and other practice controls, to the required regulatory, education, accreditation and registration state which will ensure a full and proper profession for fire safey engineers; and
  • the Comparison of FSE Guidance Documents and Assessment Criteria Report (2.1MB), provides a review of four guidance documents for fire safety engineering to determine their suitability for use in Australia.