Arup engineers named Australia’s Most Innovative of 2019

Jennifer Shand Jennifer Shand Australasia Press Office,Sydney
19 July 2019

An internationally recognised fire risk assessment tool, and a web-based specification assembly tool for projects, have seen two Arup engineers make the 2019 Australia’s Most Innovative Engineers list.

Sigurjon Ingolfsson and Ben Hussey were recognised for ‘going above and beyond with their skills and knowledge to achieve impressive feats of engineering’.

The list, complied by Engineers Australia’s create magazine, showcases the important role engineers play in solving important global challenges. 

Engineers Australia is the largest and most diverse professional body for engineers in the country with more than 100,000 members from all disciplines.

Enabling stakeholders to proactively and effectively assess fire risk

Senior Fire Engineer Sigurjon, based in Arup’s Perth office was honoured in the General Industry category for developing the Exterior Façade Fire Evaluation Comparison Tool (EFFECT). 

EFFECT was created after Sigurjon and colleague Susan Lamont identified the need for a tool to detect and classify buildings at risk of façade fires. With Arup funding, the pair investigated ways to make assessments and decisions based on risk formulated methodology. Their research attracted the interest of the United States’ National Fire Protection Association which then engaged Arup to fully develop the methodology.

The final product is a free, online tool that assists building owners, facility managers and approval authorities to proactively and effectively assess fire risk in high rise buildings. There are approximately 2000 worldwide users of EFFECT, but it is likely that more people have benefitted from the tool. 

Making our specifications a data-driven, efficient and re-usable process

Brisbane Senior Electrical Engineer Ben Hussey impressed judges in the Consulting category with a prototype tool to improve management of standard clauses in report and specification documents.

Spec Builder is a web-based tool that assists with the construction, management and publishing of reports and specifications, saving time usually spent sourcing and copying content from similar documents. It provides a framework for automatically building complex documents based on external inputs. 


When discussing the concept of Spec Builder with colleagues there was a consistent message along the lines of, ‘This will save a lot of time – why hasn’t someone already created this?’ ” Ben Hussey Ben Hussey Senior Engineer

The tool draws information from a central repository of content stored in a structured text format. Using this format allows content to be both machine and human readable and editable, instead of standard word processing formats that carry style information and are only readable using specific programs.

Ben also developed a conversion tool to migrate existing standard Arup content into the centralised storage repository which simplifies the adoption process and helps to build a significant dataset for use in future reports and specifications.