What is fire engineering?

What does it mean in a South African context?

Fire Engineering In South Africa

Fire protection in this country has originated mainly from two work vocations; fire brigades and equipment vendors / installers. Protection is also facilitated by consulting engineers and insurance consultants.

Fire protection of buildings in the first instance is most often administered and advised on by staff of fire brigades acting on behalf of the Local Authority’s Building Control Officer. This service is provided in terms of legislation, with reference to the National Building Regulations and related codes of practice such as SANS 10400.  Where straightforward compliance with SANS 10400 is not provided by the building owner, private fire consultants become involved in proposing ‘rational’ designs for Local Authority approval.

Implementation of fire protection systems required per the approved building plans is then usually facilitated by consulting engineers, who in turn rely on the system design and installation skills of contractors.

Fire engineering in this country is not yet well-developed with regard to the requirements of specialist education, training and mentoring, and guided experience. A number of initiatives are thus ongoing in an endeavour to improve the situation.

  • Standards Generating Bodies have been registered (one for Fire and Rescue and one for Engineering) in terms of the Qualifications Framework legislation introduced in South Africa. These bodies compile and register qualifications with the SA Qualifications Authority, that will be compatible with other international standard qualifications in the future.
  • The Institution of Fire Engineers is offering CPD certification per international methods of assessment and rating, of workshops, seminars and short courses that contribute to Continuing Professional Development.
  • The Institution of Fire Engineers is developing and facilitating educational courses that cover the learning content of the IFE’s examination syllabi.
  • Promotion of examinations run worldwide by the Institution of Fire Engineers, and consequent registration of members in appropriate categories, such as Technician, Graduate, Associate and Member.

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