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CROSS fire consultants among recipients of IStructE's Honorary Fellowship Awards

Region: CROSS-UK Published: 27 January 2022


The Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE) is delighted to award Honorary Fellowship Awards to Neil Gibbins and Peter Wilkinson.

Honorary Fellowship is awarded to senior non-structural engineering figures who share similar values to those of the Institution and whose activities and interests bring added value to the Institution and its work. 

Honorary Fellows through their work will additionally bring visibility to the profession of structural engineering. 

In recent years Honorary Fellows have included Angela Brady (Past President RIBA). 

Fire Safety is currently a strong area of focus for the Institution, with the development of CROSS to include fire reporting as part of the response to the Grenfell tragedy. 

The Institution believes its mission will be strengthened by appointing several new Honorary Fellows and therefore the following individuals have received Honorary Fellowship of IStructE in relation to Fire Safety: 

Neil Gibbins QFSM FIFireE

Neil’s career commenced as an operational firefighter in the late 1970s, progressing through the ranks to become Deputy Chief Fire Officer of Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service, following the successful merger of the two services. 

Neil was lead officer for fire protection within the UK Chief Fire Officers Association (now NFCC) from 2007 to 2013, chairing the group that managed the implementation of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order. 

Since moving on from the fire and rescue service Neil has been President and CEO of the Institution of Fire Engineers. He was chair of a national working group set up to improve product safety recalls, appointed by the then BEIS Minister Margot James. The working group’s report led directly to the creation of the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS). He supported the post-Grenfell industry led work, as a member of the Competency Steering Group and secretary of the Fire Engineers’ Group. Neil has been awarded the Queen’s Fire Service Medal and is a Fellow of the Institution of Fire Engineers. 

Over the last two years Neil has become a key part of CROSS, as the Lead Fire Safety Consultant; a Designated Person and a member of the CROSS Technical Board. Neil has been key to the development of CROSS in the fire sector, helping build the CROSS-Fire Safety Panel, introducing CROSS to the various facets of the fire industry and acting as an ambassador for CROSS to the fire sector. Further, Neil has shown passion, dedication and skill in helping CROSS grow and communicate to a much larger audience. Through this work, Neil has become a great friend of and collaborator with the Institution of Structural Engineers and a key part of the CROSS team.

Peter Wilkinson EngD CEng FIFireE CSci MIScT

Dr Peter Wilkinson is an experienced fire engineer who has worked on an interesting mix of fire engineering assignments and fire risk assessments for a wide variety of clients. His expertise has been vital in developing the fire engineering profession through CROSS, the Institution of Fire Engineers and BSI standards development work. Peter is founder and Director of Pyrology Limited, providing a wide range of safety, fire and risk engineering services to both established buildings and new-build projects. 

As well as being a Designated Person for CROSS, he is a Trustee and Technical Director at the Institution of Fire Engineers (IFE), the international organisation for fire professionals, helping to promote the profession and register professional engineers with the Engineering Council. Peter also chairs the British Standards Technical Committee FSH/24, developing and codifying fire safety engineering practices, such as the BS7974 suite. 

Peter is a Chartered Engineer, a Chartered Scientist and a Registered Fire Risk Assessor, and holds an Engineering Doctorate where he investigated resilient fire engineering building design. Prior to his current roles, Peter was an Associate Director at the Fire Protection Association, overseeing the activities of the Fire and Risk Services group, and prior to that, an Associate Director with a multi-disciplinary engineering consultancy, leading a team of fire engineering consultants and fire risk assessors.

Peter is CROSS’s Fire Engineering Consultant and a Designated Person for CROSS. He has become a key part of CROSS’s technical expertise in the fire sector and a member of the CROSS team driving its direction and expansion into the fire sector. Peter was key to developing and finalising the partnership between CROSS and the Institution of Fire Engineers (IFE) and works with the IFE and CROSS to ensure CROSS is promoted to the fire sector through the IFE.

Sincerely grateful for award

Neil Gibbins states; 'I am sincerely grateful to be awarded an Honorary Fellowship from the Institution of Structural Engineers. In the time I have been involved with CROSS I have learned more about the value of professionals and professional bodies working together. Extending the learning developed by one body into another sector is a role I am particularly pleased to be able to help with. The term “standing on the shoulders of giants” is an accurate reflection of the step-up given to the fire sector by Dr Alastair Soane and all those involved in creating CROSS.' 

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