Lecture by Dr. Michael Spearpoint – 27 March 2017

Lecture by Dr. Michael Spearpoint (University of Canterbury – New Zealand)

‘Why don’t we just put sprinklers everywhere and forget about fire engineering design?’

Date: Monday 27 March 2017, 10h – 11h30 (of which 45 minutes are reserved for discussion)
Location: Jozef Plateaustraat 22, 9000 Ghent, Belgium – Auditorium F
Brief contents of the lecture

In New Zealand and internationally sprinklers have been shown to be an effective means to provide life and property safety in the event of a fire. Given their success, why does not fire engineering design dispense with its efforts to carry out various levels of calculations, provide alternative active and passive elements to buildings, etc.? The lecture discusses an attempt to investigate the cost benefit of just installing sprinklers in every building in New Zealand.

Short bio of Dr. Spearpoint

After graduating with a BSc (Hons) in Physics from the University of Nottingham (UK), Mike joined the Fire Research Station (part of BRE). Here he not only got involved in several projects looking at residential fire detection and suppression systems, but also car fire experiments for the design of the Channel Tunnel as well as the early uses of new computer technologies for fire applications such as analogue addressable detection systems, VR, integrated data modelling (now known as BIM) and video fire detection systems.

In 1997 he got the opportunity to do his MSc in Fire Protection Engineering from the University of Maryland in which he completed his thesis under the guidance of Prof. Jim Quintiere. From there Mike travelled to New Zealand to take up an academic position at the University of Canterbury (UC) sponsored by the New Zealand Fire Service and also to complete his PhD. Eventually Mike became an Associate Professor and the coordinator of the fire engineering programme at UC but after 17 years he has decided it is time to move back ‘home’ to the UK coincidentally just as the turmoil of Brexit is about to start.

Mike has spent nearly 15 years writing his own risk-based egress model which might be described as being not particularly successful in terms of many people wanting to use it but still he persists. In the meantime he has co-authored around 65 peer-reviewed journal papers and over 70 conference papers. He is also a Chartered Engineer registered by the Engineering Council UK.