SFPE Discussions

SFPE Body of Knowledge

A project that SFPE has been working on in conjunction with Engineering NZ for over a year is developing the “body of knowledge” for fire engineering. A draft version is now available for SFPE members for comment and is available from: SFPE BoK draft

While it started before MBIE announced moves to occupational licensing of engineers, it has become more important since this announcement. It will form a fundamental part of the requirements of being a fire engineering New Zealand and what level of knowledge they are expected to have and be able to demonstrate.
It is not a new approach as the structural engineer’s group SESCOC developed their equivalent document some time ago after looking at similar issues and the aftermath of the Christchurch earthquakes
Since it is benchmarked against international practice, it has been based heavily on the SFPE Global Recommended Minimum Technical Core Competencies for the Practice of Fire Protection Engineering. (SFPE minimum Competencies). I suggest that both the NZ and international versions should be read together.
The intent is that it should be consistent with international practice and expectations, so that overseas engineers can practice in New Zealand and similarly, that NZ engineers can work overseas with the assurance they have adequate skill levels.

The expectation is that a competent engineer, who has completed and understood the subjects of a fire engineering degree or has a similar level of knowledge, combined with practical experience, should be able to meet the objectives and have a sound understanding of the principles behind the results or calculations they may use in their work. The example issues are real problems that have been faced by NZ fire engineers and should be within the capabilities of a competent fire engineer and all the knowledge required is available through the standard University fire engineering courses and common references.

Feedback from SFPE members would be appreciated on this document and the objectives.
I believe it is important for SFPE and the membership to drive this process and define what we do and our areas of expertise, otherwise others will make assumptions which will not be correct or to our benefit.
Consider

  • Do you believe there is a need for this document or a similar approach?
  • What should be added or removed?
  • Is the expected level correct, for life safety critical work?
  • As a fire engineer, do you feel that you could meet these objectives and apply the skills required, with (if required) some further study into specific areas using e.g. the SFPE Handbook?
    Geoff Merryweather