Fire safety engineer

Job Description:

Fire safety engineers ensure that buildings are designed to keep people, property and the environment safe from the dangers of fire.

Job Category:
Government & Public Services

What you will do:

Depending on your role and where you work, you could:

  • use computer modelling to predict how fires start and spread
  • make recommendations about building design and materials to prevent fires starting and spreading
  • visit construction sites to oversee works
  • give advice on fire safety systems and procedures like sprinklers and emergency exits
  • liaise with local authorities, construction professionals and architects about fire safety
  • keep up to date with new fire regulations and laws
  • inspect equipment, buildings and materials to make sure they are safe
  • write fire investigation reports


You’ll need:

  • knowledge of engineering science and technology
  • design skills and knowledge
  • maths knowledge
  • knowledge of building and construction
  • knowledge of physics
  • regulatory knowledge – familiarity with building codes, fire safety regulations, and industry standards.
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

As well as:

  • Analytical Skills: The ability to analyse fire risks, assess building designs, and develop effective fire safety strategies.
  • Problem-Solving: Fire safety engineers must identify and address potential fire hazards and develop solutions to minimise risks.
  • Attention to Detail: Precise attention to detail is crucial when designing fire protection systems and ensuring compliance with safety codes.
  • Communication: Effective communication skills for collaborating with architects, builders, clients, and other professionals (leadership skills)
  • Teamwork: Collaborating with other engineers, architects, and stakeholders to integrate fire safety measures into building designs (teamwork skills)
  • Technical Aptitude: Understanding engineering principles, fire dynamics, fire detection systems, suppression methods, and evacuation strategies.
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

Becoming a fire safety engineer involves a combination of education, skills, and experience in the field of engineering, particularly in fire safety and prevention. While there are no strict subject requirements for this career, certain subjects can provide a strong foundation for developing the skills and knowledge needed to work as a fire safety engineer.

Here are some relevant subjects that can be beneficial:

  1. Mathematics: A strong understanding of mathematics is essential for performing calculations, analysing data, and designing fire safety systems.
  2. Sciences (Physics and Chemistry): Physics provides insights into heat transfer, fluid dynamics, and thermodynamics, which are relevant to understanding fire behaviour. Chemistry can also be useful for understanding the properties of materials and their reaction to fire.
  3. Design and Technology: This subject can introduce you to engineering principles, construction materials, and design concepts relevant to fire safety systems.
  4. ICT (Information and Communication Technology): Proficiency in using technology and computer software for simulations, modelling, and analysis.

Post School

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role

You can do a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree in engineering followed by an undergraduate or postgraduate specialism in Fire Safety Engineering.

Alternatively you may be able to take a specialist undergraduate degree in Structural and Fire Safety Engineering.

Some courses offer a work placement. This will give you relevant work experience and can help you to make useful industry contacts.

You can take a higher national certificate (HNC) or diploma (HND) course at college which may help you to find work as a trainee engineer. You’ll then do further training on the job to specialise in fire safety.

You could complete a fire safety engineer degree apprenticeship.

Once you have successfully completed your degree apprenticeship, you may be eligible to become an associate or member of the Institute of Fire Safety Engineers (IFE).

If you are already working in the fire related sector, you may be able to take an IFE professional qualification like:

  • Certificate in Fire Engineering Science
  • Certificate in Fire Engineering Science
  • Diploma in Fire Engineering Design


Working Hours and Environment:

You would typically work 40 to 42 hours per week.

You could work in an office or on a construction site. Your working environment may be outdoors some of the time.

You may need to wear safety clothing and use safety equipment.

Career Path & Progression:

With further professional study, you could gain technician, incorporated or chartered engineering status, depending on your level of academic qualification.

You could specialise in a specific building type like commercial, residential or retail.

With experience you could become a self-employed consultant.