In the United States and Canada, fire codes guide the design and construction of every building. Whether it's a complex of apartments or condominiums; a warehouse or factory; or an office complex, everything must be constructed to code, and keeping residents or employees safe is an important concern.
Fire protection engineers are charged with maintaining the safety of structures, and the people living or working in those structures. That means designing both active and passive fire control methods, which will act to prevent fire expansion and damage at every level. So whether you're designing a new building, or renovating an old one, hiring a fire protection design engineer should be high on your list.
Engineering to prevent and control fires is a complicated science; how can you implement the safest methods of fire protection, while keeping them unobtrusive and out of sight? And how do you anticipate the various ways that fires can start? Wherever there are people, there's the potential for fire, and a good fire protection design engineer can anticipate the various methods in which people can accidently start fires.
If you're choosing a fire control engineer, make sure he or she has detailed plans for both active and passive protection.
Active engineering keeps fires from starting in the first place. This means implementing redundant fire suppression methods, like sprinklers, fire extinguishers, and a water source for fire hoses. Active fire protection design engineering also includes alarm systems.
There's really nothing passive about passive engineering; these methods are meant to contain fires within as small an area as possible once they start. Every fire protection design engineer is pragmatic, and knows that even the most redundant active system can not stop every fire from starting. That's why they learn as much materials science as possible, so as to select the best fire-retardant material from which to build doors, walls and floors.
Every state and every community has different standards for fire prevention and suppression, so a knowledgeable fire engineer is a vital member of your design team.