October 1, 2018
As he concludes his first year as president of the Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE), it makes perfect sense that Michael James would describe FireNZ 2018 as “the best conference yet” – and feedback on FireNZ 2018, held 26-28 September 2018 at ASB Baypark Stadium in Mt Maunganui has been good all round. Bay of Plenty locals seemed especially pleased to be welcoming the 200 plus attendees to their region and Michael felt the greater intimacy afforded by the venue was a real bonus.
International keynote speakers included Dr David Crowder (Head of Fire Investigation and Expert Witness Services, BRE Group), Niall Rowan (Chief Executive Officer, ASFP), Sean Decrane (Industry Relations, Building & Life Safety Technologies, UL LLC), Arnold Dix (Risk Doctor – Technical / Legal, ALARP Group) and Jonathan Barnett (Director, Basic Expert, Australia). Michael noted that feedback from these experts also suggested that this year’s conference was well worth attending and provided a great platform for the presenters as well.
Three of these international guests presented on cladding, Jonathan Barnett provided an Australian perspective on the issue, while David Crowder talked about the enormity of the investigation into the Grenfell Tower fire and Arnold Dix on the human tragedy of the Tower disaster. Michael said that even when Arnold Dix set up a free building assessment service for apartment building residents, there were no takers for the service, which highlights just how reliant residents actually are on others to ensure the buildings they live in are safe.
Michael himself presented two papers at this year’s conference, one on Design Co-ordination and the other on Cladding Compliance, both of which will be posted separately to this site over the weeks to come.
At the Gala Dinner, Michael James congratulated The Institution of Fire Engineers (IFE) on their 100th year anniversary and acknowledged the contribution they have made to fire safety in New Zealand, complimenting them particularly on their work in the training space, most recently for school leavers. Also at the Gala Dinner, Michael presented Associate Fire Engineer at Beca, Greg North, the President’s award for his significant contributions to the Society of Fire Protection Engineers New Zealand Chapter.
FireNZ is an annual conference designed and delivered by three partners, FPANZ (The Fire Protection Association NZ) representing New Zealand’s fire protection industry, IFE (The Institution of Fire Engineers New Zealand Branch ) representing a large cross section of fire fighters and fire engineering community and SFPE (The New Zealand Chapter of the Society of Fire Protection Engineers) representing the fire engineering professionals of New Zealand. The venue for FireNZ 2019 has already been confirmed at the Vodafone Events Centre, Manukau, Auckland, New Zealand for 3 – 6 September 2019. Follow FireNZ over on LinkedIn.