The LWF Blog

Facilities Management & Fire Safety – Fire Safety Engineering – Part 2

October 25, 2018 12:43 pm

In LWF’s blog series for those who work in facilities management or who have a responsibility for or interest in fire safety, we have begun to look at the original idea of fire safety engineering. In part 1 of this series, a little of the history of the subject was laid out. In part 2, we take a look at the broader engineering discipline known as fire engineering.


In 1918, the Institution of Fire Engineers (IFE) was founded and is celebrating its centenary year in 2018. The organisation stated its objective as

‘To promote, encourage and improve the science and practice of fire extinction, fire prevention and fire engineering and all operations and expedients connected therewith, and to give an impulse to ideas likely to be useful in connection with or in relation to such science and practice to the members of the Institution and to the community at large.’


The founders wished the organisation to be recognised as a trusted body such as the ‘Institute of Civil Engineers’, although it was to be some time before fire engineering was a recognised occupation in itself. In the main, the initial membership comprised members of the fire service and welcomed all those employed in the ‘fire profession’.


The institute began to set its own examinations which continue to this day and has been one of the most active professional bodies in supporting and developing member development.


It wasn’t until the 1970s and 1980s that other professional bodies began to develop to represent the interests of fire engineers in particular, notably, the Institute of Fire Safety (IFS) in 1992. The IFS came into being when the Society of Fire Safety Engineers formally combined forces with the UK Chapter of the Society of Fire Protection Engineers in April 1992. The IFS, along with the Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE) and the Australian Society of Fire Safety (SFS) formed the International Fire Safety Engineering Institute (IFSEI) established in August 1998.


The IFS and IFE were jointly responsible for an approach to the Engineering Council which led to the formation of an Engineering Council Division of the IFE and the transfer of IFS members into the new IFE Engineering Council Division. This consolidation formalised the IFE becoming the recognised professional body for fire engineering in the UK.


The IFE achieved recognition as a ‘nominated body’ by the Engineering Council in 1997, from which date it can be asserted that fire engineering was recognised as a legitimate and separate branch of engineering, with the organisation being able to award the qualifications Chartered Engineer (C Eng), Incorporated Engineer (I Eng) and Engineering Technician (Eng Tech) to those who are suitably qualified.


In part 3 of this series, LWF will look more into the education of fire engineers in the UK before beginning to look at fire safety engineering design of buildings. In the meantime, if you have any questions about this blog, or wish to discuss your own project with one of our fire engineers, please contact us.


Lawrence Webster Forrest has been working with their clients for over 25 years to produce innovative and exciting building projects. If you would like further information on how LWF and fire strategies could assist you, please contact Peter Gyere on 020 8668 8663.


While care has been taken to ensure that information contained in LWF’s publications is true and correct at the time of publication, changes in circumstances after the time of publication may impact on the accuracy of this information.


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