Specifically Speaking features a Q&A with a different security consultant every month. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
THIS MONTH: We caught up with John Noone, Associate, Fire Engineering at Arup in Dubai.
Give an overview of your current role and its scope.
I am the UAE fire practice leader for Arup in the Gulf region. I am responsible for a team of eight fire engineers located in our Dubai office and also lead some of our larger projects from a fire perspective. My main role is ensuring Arup fire delivers our projects to the highest possible quality and technical standards. To provide this our fire team have a very diverse range of skills from different backgrounds. I have over 10 years’ experience and I am very keen to impart as much knowledge to the industry in the Middle East about the role a fire engineer can play on a project. There is a perception that a fire engineer’s role relates to project approvals with the authority having jurisdiction. However, I believe that this is only ten per cent of what we can offer on a project. With my role in Arup I aim to inform clients, architects and other consultants what a fire engineer can offer at each stage of the project with the intent of reaching a stage where fire safety is considered throughout the life of a project and the building’s operation.
What is Arup’s position in the market? What projects has it carried out in the GCC?
Arup is an independent firm of designers, planners, engineers, consultants and technical specialists offering a broad range of professional services. We have been working in the Middle East since the early 1970s and are registered in Qatar and the UAE with offices in Doha, Dubai and Abu Dhabi. We work with public authorities, local developers, major multinational clients, as well as some of the world’s most influential architects to deliver creative and high value technical solutions. Currently, we have over 200 staff within the region working on an array of world class projects. We are now working on the terminal at Abu Dhabi international airport, the Dubai World Expo and the Qatar World Cup. We have also recently completed projects such as Aldar HQ, Yas Marina hotel and Masdar city. These are some of the most challenging and interesting projects available in the region. Within the Middle East market we are seen as a firm that delivers excellence on a consistent basis. This is a very important factor for us and we continuously strive to maintain this by working on the most interesting and challenging projects available in the region.
You attended the Safety Design in Buildings event in Kuwait last year. How was it?
The SDiB conferences are always a great experience for me. In Kuwait we had a good attendance with some very interesting views on the standing of fire safety within not only Kuwait but the Middle East region as a whole. As SDiB is a touring conference, I enjoy attending and speaking at them to gain an understanding of the perception of fire safety in various regions. During the conferences I mainly speak about ensuring safe evacuation from buildings and the different methods of achieving this. In Kuwait I discussed how we can use evacuation modelling as a tool to better inform our building designs when compared to prescriptive code methods. Prescriptive methods will generally not give the engineer, or even more importantly non-technical stake holders, a good understanding of how a building operates in egress mode. Using evacuation modelling allows us demonstrate how the building not only operates but gives us a visual representation of where problems exist and possible solutions. I found this was very well received at the conference resulting in some challenging and thought provoking questions.