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White Brick Wall

I consider myself lucky, in that I have always known what I wanted to do as I was exposed to engineering from a young age due to family members. Once I explored my options at school, it became apparent it was the right choice for me, I was a natural problem solver. 

What route did you take to becoming a Senior Fire Engineer? 

I took the orthodox route into engineering, I studied, mathematics, physics, physical education, and biology. This led me onto my Bachelors in Civil and Structural Engineering at the university of Greenwich and later studied a MSc in Fire and Explosive Engineering at the university of Leeds. 

What does your role actually involve? And how does your work affect our lives?

The role of a Fire Engineer ensures that buildings are designed to keep people, property and the environment safe from the dangers of fire. We work closely with the design team which features key stakeholders such as, Architects, Structural /Mechanical Engineers, plus many more.  The type of work I am involved in varies from RIBA 1 through to 7, handover stage. I have been lucky enough to work on a few developments where I have seen projects go through from RIBA stage 2 (I would have worked on this while I was a graduate), to now supporting the project through construction.  

The role of a Fire Engineer during the design phase requires drawing reviews, calculations and even computer modeling as well as several workshops with key stakeholders to ensure the deliverables (typical reports) are coordinated for each milestone.  I do enjoy the design stages, however, seeing your design come to life as structure is rewarding, and probably my favorite stage; as this is where the pieces you’ve worked tirelessly for years, come together- plus I get to go onsite! Supporting through construction requires a lot of analytical thinking, good communication and meticulous planning and attention to detail.

"Engineers are, by definition, innovators and problem solvers. Typically, construction stage is where you’ll face some challenges. The design you developed and agreed at the initial phase might not be buildable for many reasons, and this is where you need to collaborate with the design team to develop creative but safe solutions."

Aside from being an Engineer, I regularly attend universities, schools, and primary schools to increase exposure to the younger generation. It is vital we illustrate the representation of the Engineering industry to make it more appealing.

One main skill I've picked up during my career is networking! My networking skills have developed through LinkedIn, face to face meetings and general project exposure. Networking and collaboration can help to make meetings run more smoothly, build client relationships and just improve colleague and office relations.

What’s the best thing you like about your role?

I chose fire engineering as a specialism to protect people in their homes, their businesses, their jobs (Fire service), and in the last five years, I’ve helped expand BB7 and make it one of the leading fire consultancies. I remain passionate about driving opportunities for younger people, especially those from diverse backgrounds, and I believe that it is our duty to ensure that a new generation of Fire Engineers enters the industry with the skills needed to thrive.

In addition to the above, I enjoy the continuous learning. No good engineer stops learning because they’ve received their degree. New methods are being established often and creative ways of getting around traditional methods crop up. If you aren’t actively staying up to date, you’ll quickly fall behind. No two projects are the same no matter how identical they are on plan, the jigsaw will always be different.
 

White Brick Wall
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“Aside from being an Engineer, I regularly attend universities, schools, and primary schools to increase exposure to the younger generation. It is vital we illustrate the representation of the Engineering industry to make it more appealing.”

Hi, I’m Mandy Youssef and I'm a 31 year old multi-award winning Engineer who has been working in the industry for 7 years. Since joining BB7 in 2016, I have worked on a wide range of projects throughout the UK, ranging from complex artistic residential developments, shopping centers, hospitals, and transport infrastructure as well as 2022 City building of the year.  

 

Alongside my day-to-day duties as a Senior Fire Engineer, I head up our talent development sector, where I’m responsible for our internal career development, training programs and academic partnerships.

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Being a woman in Construction is still misunderstood by many people. What is it like to be a woman working in your career area & how do people react when you tell them your job role?

I often get ‘really, oh’ as a response after I have told someone I’m an Engineer which illustrates the stigma that Engineering is a male only industry is very much still apparent. I always get asked why and how I ended up in Engineering which I enjoy discussing. However, over my years in the industry, I have noticed a change; more female presence in design meetings and workshops. Most recently, I took our apprentice Ellie to a meeting with a larger contractor, which featured solely women! It was a great illustration of the positive changes we are all making to the industry. 

What advice would you give a young woman thinking about a career in your role? 

Give it a go, contact local companies for work experience and internships. Engineering is exciting and rewarding.

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Mandy Youssef

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