Kevin Smeyers, senior fire risk engineer
Kevin in a nutshell
- Started at FPC Risk in 2014.
- Has a master’s degree in Industrial Engineering (chemistry), and completed a postgraduate degree in Fire Safety Engineering while working at FPC Risk.
- Likes the dynamic variety of his job and is continuously impressed by his colleagues.
- Dreams of being a full-time musician had he taken a different path.
What is your job position at FPC Risk and how did you get there?
I trained to be an industrial engineer, like so many of my current colleagues. After my studies I worked for a chemical company – doing quality control and R&D in their lab. Because I was ready to be challenged further, I followed an outsourcing agency’s advice towards FPC Risk. And that’s where I’ve been for the past years.
Right now, I am a Fire Risk Engineer. Three years ago, I also finished my studies in Fire Safety Engineering, which I followed during my time here.
What does your job entail?
Generally speaking, I know and apply all the fire safety legislation and regulations. I assess possible risks and scenarios based on the information and on-site walkthroughs at our client’s locations.
My main responsibility consists of the next step: developing fire safety concepts. I check whether the fire safety measures taken are following the local regulations. When they’re not in line with the rules, I must be able to substantiate why they are safe nonetheless. I calculate why certain safety measures have an equivalent safety level.
My job is extremely varied. Sometimes I get asked to assist architects during their design process. Other times we are asked by a manufacturing company to assess and upgrade their existing fire safety system. And then there’s the actual engineering part, where I mostly use software packages to develop evacuation models, to calculate heat radiation, to define stability, etc.
Can you describe a typical workday?
Not really, every day is different. Until recently, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I took the train to Schiphol in Amsterdam to work on projects in their terminal. FPC Risk is one of the standard advisors of the International Airport. Other days I spend in our office in Antwerp, or on-site with our clients.
A typical day consists of meetings, reading emails, writing reports and abstracts, and answering ad-hoc questions by builders. But more importantly, it consists of solving puzzles and correctly responding to architect’s issues, for example.
During the day, I love kicking ideas around with my colleagues. A second opinion is very valuable, especially in our business.
What is your favorite aspect of working for FPC Risk?
The variation is awesome. You get to walk into rooms you’d otherwise never see, and you are involved in projects you’d otherwise know nothing about. Today I’ve worked on an industrial warehouse, on Antwerp’s old Palace of Justice, on a Schiphol project, and on a computer model for CFD analysis. And we’re only halfway through the day!
Recently I also started giving lectures in Ghent, at the Fire Safety Engineering course. I didn’t expect to be this thrilled to share my experience, but I actually treasure this academic angle of my job.
Apart from my actual job content, there’s also the fact that it’s great to work for a very horizontally managed company. Everyone is accessible, no-one is ‘Sir’. It’s a friendly environment where you can thrive. I have never seen an organization where literally everyone works this hard or is this motivated. That passion certainly rubs off on everyone there.
Do you want to become a fire risk engineer at FPC Risk? Take a look at our vacancy and apply!