Fire Engineering

The Society for Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE) explains that the role of fire engineering professionals is to

… identify risks related to fire and determine ways to reduce the risks as well as design ways for safeguarding against the wrath of fire. Through the application of science and engineering principles, the engineer can mitigate, detect, control, or suppress a fire… This includes analyzing fire hazards, mitigating fire through design and construction of buildings, examination of building uses and industrial processes, and design, installation and maintenance of fire detection and suppression systems. 

Find lots more info on the FireSUN website.

Fire engineers are competent engineering professionals who use calculation and design principles to develop safe infrastructure. The SFPE has produced a guideline on core competency requirements of fire engineers (typically called fire protection engineers in the USA),  shown in the figure below. This figure highlights how the profession is undergirded by fire science but has significant application through fields such as fire protection systems (e.g. sprinklers and detection), fire protection analysis (e.g. performance-based design), and then human behaviour and evacuation during fire situations. These core competencies have formed the basis for the development of taught content at Stellenbosch University.

The students can find a job as fire safety engineer in the following sectors:

  • in fire protection consultancy companies;
  • in disaster risk management positions;
  • in industries as a fire safety responsible person;
  • in fire testing laboratories;
  • in research and educational institutions.

There is a current international shortage of fire safety engineers meaning that jobs are readily available.

Fire Engineering Research Unit

Structural Fire Engineering, Fire Behaviour, Informal Settlement Fire Safety

Specific research topics for the upcoming year are available below but feel free to contact our researchers directly as well.

Fire Engineering Research Topics 2024

And you can find a lot more information on the FireSun website.