Building up knowledge and experience on the job

Rob Holland

Role at Cahill Design Consultants

Principal Fire Engineer

Experience working in Fire Engineering:

8 Years

Top Tip for someone new to the industry:

Attitude. Come with the right attitude and willingness to learn, and you will not go far wrong. There are a lot of people in the industry who want to help you succeed if are willing to learn.

Rob’s Fire Engineering Journey 

I fell into it, really. I went to university at 25 and studied Forensic Science, something I had always been interested in.

During my final year, I worked for my local Fire and Rescue Service, hoping to transition to fire investigation. I soon discovered this was a drawn-out difficult area to get into within the fire service as there were usually only positions available when people retire.

Due to wanting to progress my career at pace I decided to leave the fire service. I submitted my CV to a recruitment consultant who introduced me to a role within a multi discipline construction consultancy where one of their disciplines was fire safety.

I joined them as a Graduate Fire Engineer and built up my knowledge and experience on the job. It was not so much about the projects I was working on that got my attention, but the constant learning. And I’m still learning now. Taking courses in different areas and tools such as PyroSim and passive fire protection. I am always looking for CPDs that can expand my understanding of fire safety and assist in learning from others. The most valuable thing a consultant can do is using the codes and standards to solve different problems; you will always learn something new. You can’t beat experience.

I’ve worked my way up to the position of Senior Fire Engineer and now a Principal Fire Engineer.

Memorable projects

A fibre optic cable manufacturing facility. This was an unusual project to be involved with. I had to take the time to understand the processes occurring in every room to enable me to understand the fire risks in order to provide appropriate fire safety measures for each area individually and for the building holistically.

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