Fire Engineering

Of all the responsibilities facing the property industry, keeping people safe from the dangers of fire and smoke is among the greatest. Part science and technology, part psychology, part management and law, this field requires rigorous mastery of all aspects of emergency planning, fire protection engineering, security system design and building and fire codes, while also ensuring clients realize their architectural vision and operational goals while meeting their responsibilities.

Efficient Delivery: Connectivity, Collaboration & Diversity

WSP’s fire engineering community consists of 250 experts worldwide who work in close collaboration, sharing best practice and knowledge. Our mission is to deliver quality, innovation, and value to our clients by understanding how to integrate fire safety in the design process in relation to local conditions and codes. Rob Davies, who heads up WSP Fire in the Middle East, said “we are proud to have a talented pool of fire engineering experts with international and highly specialised experience including with CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics), human behaviour, hazardous materials specialists and façade materials, on some of the world’s most renowned buildings.”

Fire safety cannot be understood in isolation and the combination of our global expertise and relationship with other WSP disciplines brings additional dimensions to our work providing an efficient project delivery model and bring commercial benefits for clients. 

Across the globe we provide a broad range of services to deliver fire-safe buildings that are also functional and economical. These include the development of fire safety strategies, fire engineering design and specification, fire safety audits, fire risk assessments, computer simulation for fire dynamics, value engineering exercises and peer reviews. 

Our role is to apply scientific and engineering principles, rules and expert judgement based on our understanding of how fire impacts a building, the interaction with human behaviour and how to ensure safe access for fire fighters. We combine theoretical knowledge and practical application, using advanced computer modelling of fire, smoke, evacuation and structural response. In some regions, we also provide fire safety systems design and post-occupancy safety solutions.


Diverse Project Experience

We provide fire engineering services to some of the world’s leading architects, developers, engineers and planners, across an enormous diversity of projects. These range from the 519m Tianjin CTF-Binhai Centre, one of China’s tallest towers, to the European Spallation Source in Sweden, which will accommodate the world’s most powerful neutron source. Our work also encompasses numerous government properties, commercial and residential developments, large retail schemes, airports, stations and other transport interchanges.

Scale isn’t always the most challenging; WSP is highly regarded for its specialist technical skills in the delivery of highly sensitive, controlled environments for facilities such as laboratories and warehouses. For examples, The European Spallation Source, a multi-disciplinary research centre based on the world’s most powerful neutron source and one of the largest science and technology infrastructure projects being built today, is a very complex development with offices, conference areas, industrial sections and a long tunnel – all requiring very different fire and risk strategies. In addition it’s also a nuclear facility. We’ve also carried out smoke and fire modelling, structural analysis and evacuation modelling, integrating many different software.

Interaction with Designers and the Planning Authorities

Given that fire engineers are responsible for the fire safety strategy of a project, our work informs the whole design team on fire safety matters. It provides design guidance to architects, advises the building services engineers on what systems are required, such as smoke ventilation, fire dampers, fire detection, smoke alarms, emergency lighting and sprinkler systems, and provides vital information to structural engineers on how long a structure must be protected and how that is achieved.

The fire strategy is also a key document used by authorities to base their decision on for approving the safety aspects of a building. One of the most important aspects of our work is to liaise with building authorities as a scheme develops to discuss fire safety aspects, demonstrate that the strategy is safe in different scenarios and eventually gain approval for a fire-safe building that also meets its aesthetic, functional and commercial objectives.