Arup’s advanced approach to fire engineering means that we rise to the challenges posed by all types of structures.
Whether providing code consultancy, strategic advice, fire prevention through specialised fire safety design, construction supervision, inspection and risk assessment, or post-fire recovery, our work is grounded in fire science.
A responsive approach
Our 200-plus fire safety engineers are based in around 30 locations worldwide. They draw on Arup’s global experience, but they are also specialists in country-specific codes and planning standards for fire safety.
Local insight equips us to deliver compliant, user-focused fire safety advice whether we are consulting on China’s first subsea tunnel, the regeneration of hospital sites in the UK or the California Academy of Sciences.
Our solutions meet the challenges of the many sectors we work in: from the precise requirements of science facilities, the singular conditions of sustainable high-rises, the rigorous standards of airports and railways and sensitive refurbishments of heritage buildings such as London’s Royal Opera House or Australia's 39 Hunter Street.
Whatever the context, we tailor our response to match clients’ individual objectives – from strategies to manage their fire safety and protection risks and user-friendly management regimes, to construction compliance services that reduce programme delays.
Our longstanding fire safety expertise brings the skill needed to assist in recovery and analysis following fire.
A balanced outlook
Fire safety cannot be understood in isolation as it often negotiates a delicate balance between the competing demands of design innovation, sustainability, functionality and fire performance.
Our fire safety specialists regularly tackle, with extreme rigour and honesty, briefs that challenge standard fire safety design approaches, as they did with the Seattle Central Library. The library’s unusual geometry produced an interior of interconnected spaces, which posed complications for fire escape and smoke management. Moreover, as it was designed to outperform Seattle’s energy code by 10%, it required highly resource-efficient fire suppression systems.
We simulated, analysed and evaluated multiple fire scenarios to design a management system that would maintain safety with minor building design modifications. It also allowed the library’s unique façade and lofty main atrium to be built as designed.
A commitment to helping communities and shaping a safer world
Honesty, fair dealings with others, and a commitment to achieve humanitarian aims have been at the heart of Arup’s work since 1970, when the firm’s founder, Ove Arup, articulated them as core principles.
The fire team’s expertise in fire safety in the built environment enables us to play a positive role in communities and support important social causes – from delivering fire safety training to children in Dubai to providing fire safety advice in Hackney, England, where 18 churches have been fire risk assessed in order to host vulnerable people during the winter period. Our fire safety engineers will be completing fire risk assessments for an additional 21 venues this winter.
We are also contributing back to society through our research on fire safety in Informal Settlements (otherwise known as slums, shantytowns, favelas, etc.) in Cape Town, South Africa. Due to poor construction materials, lack of planning, energy poverty and complex socioeconomic conditions in Informal Settlements, a single fire can impact thousands of people. In collaboration with Arup International Development, the fire team is taking a technical approach that evaluates the fire risks in the built environment, while equally considering the social, political, and environmental aspects of Informal Settlements. This should empower stakeholders working with Informal Settlements to assess fire risks and identify the most effective investment opportunities to improve fire safety in Informal Settlements globally.
We stay at the cutting edge of fire safety design by supporting Research, Masters, PhD and Professorships programmes at leading universities, helping develop innovative fire engineering techniques. We are currently supporting the International Master of Science in Fire Safety Engineering; a two year full time master programme in the Erasmus+ framework which is jointly offered by Ghent University, Lund University and the University of Edinburgh. This approach means that we rise to the challenges posed by all types of complex building forms.