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Fire solution safe in VU graduate hands

For Victoria University graduates the world is their oyster when it comes to fire safety engineering.

RAWfire company's directors, Garry Weir and Sandro Razzi, are both VU graduates, who studied their Bachelor of Engineering in Building Engineering at Footscray Park Campus, and Garry says fire safety engineering is a growth area that is evolving all the time.

Sandro and Garry went on to study a Graduate Diploma in Fire Safety and Risk Engineering at VU's Centre for Environmental Safety and Risk Engineering (CESARE) at Werribee.

Garry said: "Fire Engineering is all about assessing risk to life and property from fires in buildings. Fire Safety Engineers provide alternative solutions when a building does not comply with the Building Code of Australia prescriptive requirements in relation to fire. Building designs are constantly changing as new building materials and technologies come on-line so Fire Safety Engineers are called in more and more for their expertise."

"We provide an educated opinion where buildings don't fit the mould – they may be very new in design, or heritage listed, which means they cannot be retro-fitted according to the building code. Builders turn to us because we have a fundamental understanding of how fire behaves which allows us to find the solutions which are based on many factors including life safety; property protection; fire intervention; and people's behaviour in fires."

Jenna Oosthuizen is a Fire and Life Safety Consultant at RAW and also a 2009 VU graduate in Architectural Engineering. She says: "The opportunities in the industry not limited to working in Melbourne – you can go wherever you want in the world. The variety of jobs is endless. Every day is different – every day has a new challenge. You always need to think outside the square."

Projects worked on by the RAW team include fire engineering designs for Hong Kong airport's express freight facility; fire modelling for the 25 metre flame at the Longford gas plant in Victoria and a Ferrari and Maserati sports car show room in Sydney. The company is also working on fire engineering design for the Google Sydney relocation to Pyrmont – known as the 'Googleplex'.

VU course co-ordinator Ian Campbell said: "Today, VU offers the Bachelor of Engineering in Architectural Engineering, which is the best foundation for budding fire engineers – the course is unique in Australia. Students specialise in the planning, design, construction and management of building environmental control, life safety or building structural systems with a focus on sustainable design concepts. These systems make buildings safe and comfortable places in which to live and work."

The degree leads to immediate employment in the building design industry as well as to postgraduate studies at VU in Fire Engineering which include an understanding of fire development and smoke behaviour; human behaviour in an emergency; protection and mitigation of fire ignition; fire detection and alarm systems and smoke control systems.

A photo of Jenna Oosthuizen and Garry Weir is available on request

Media Contact: Andy Gash, A/Media Manager

Marketing and Communications Department, Victoria University

Ph: (03) 9919 4950; mobile: 0411 255 900

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