Terry O'Neill CEng MIFireE

My projects include the fire engineered design for One Hyde Park (London), fire analysis of a residential tower in Margate and the fire investigation of Pera House in Istanbul, as well as Terry ONeillworking on a range of colleges, shopping complexes, prisons, hospitals and educational facilities.

I have also spent a significant proportion of my career writing widely used standards and guides such as ‘Custodial Property Fire Safety Design Standards’, ‘Foreign & Commonwealth Office Fire Safety Code’ and ‘Crown Fire Standards’ to name a few.

What attracted you to become registered as a CEng?

After retiring from the fire service, and moving to Butler & Young as a specialist fire engineer, I felt that it was essential to validate my work by achieving professional registration with Chartered status.

How did you become registered as a CEng?

I became registered by submitting an application to the Institution of Fire Engineers (IFE). The IFE is licensed by the Engineering Council to assess and recommend applicants for professional registration. My professional review consisted of a paper application, which included a number of fire engineering designs that I had undertaken through my professional career, and an interview before an expert panel selected by the IFE.

Please describe your current roles:

I am currently balancing two roles: I am the Managing Director (MD) for Trenton Fire Limited and the Chief Operating Officer (COO) for the Butler & Young Group.

As MD for Trenton Fire, I am responsible for the delivery of a professional fire engineering service to clients. I am supported by a Director of Fire Engineering to assist me in meeting this objective.

As COO for the Butler & Young Group, I ensure the strategic operational efficiency of service delivery. As a member of the Group Board, I am responsible for Health & Safety, ITC, Human Resources and Quality Management.

Please provide a brief outline of your career so far:

My professional fire engineering career began in the fire service with Surrey, West Sussex and finally London. After completing my degree at Southbank University, achieving First Class Honours, I was appointed Head of the Fire Engineering Group for the London Fire Brigade.

I retired from the fire service in 1997 and was employed by Butler & Young as a Senior Fire Engineer. Upon appointment as Director, I converted the fire safety division of Butler & Young into a separate company within the Group called Trenton Fire Limited.

I was appointed Managing Director of Trenton Fire Limited in 2004; a position that I remain in today. In 2008, I took on the additional role of COO within the Butler & Young Group.

Have you worked on any unusual or high profile projects?

Over the course of my career I have provided many complex fire engineered solutions, fire strategies, fire risk analyses and fire investigations on high profile

Education and qualifications:

BEng with First Class Honours in Fire Safety Engineering, Southbank University

Which institutions are you a member of?

Institution of Fire Engineers (IFE); Fellow of the Faculty of Building; Member of the Institute of Directors; Registered Member (CDM) Co-ordinator of the APS

Current job titles:

Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer


Trenton Fire Limited and Butler & Young Group respectively

Length in current job:

Ten and six years respectively

Where are you based?

London and Bicester

How has professional registration as a CEng benefitted your career?

Professional registration as a CEng has had an enormous effect on my career as it was instrumental in me being appointed Director of Fire Engineering. I believe that construction professionals place great importance upon the role of professional registration and that of a Chartered Engineer.

I am the current Chair of the Fire Sector Federation (FSF) Enforcement Workstream, reporting to the FSF Executive as well as attending the CFOA Fire Engineering Technical Standards as a representative of the Building Control Alliance.

What advice would you give someone considering professional registration as a CEng?

You should try to extract as much as possible from each project that you work on, regarding fire engineering principles, management, research and processes. Try to tackle a variety of project types as these form the foundations of your engineering expertise, on which your professional registration application will be considered.

Chartered status provides validation of your ability, which must be constantly nurtured and developed as the field of learning is immense.

What is your employer’s attitude towards professional registration?

As I run both of the companies that I currently work for, I am the employer and I feel that professional registration is vital. All my employees are encouraged and fully supported to achieve professional registration to EngTech, IEng or CEng status.

How do employers benefit from their employees being professionally registered as a CEng?

Clients recognise CEng registered engineers as having the expertise to deliver more complex and innovative fire engineered solutions. CEng status is reinforced by a competency statement that assists employers in winning more contracts.

Do you have any other academic/professional qualifications?

During my fire service career I attended numerous courses at the Fire Service College in Moreton in Marsh, which included the specialist fire safety, hazardous materials and fire investigation courses. I successfully passed the examination to become a Member of Institute of Fire Engineers as well as all Fire Service promotional examinations.

My competence is maintained by ensuring I follow a strict continuous professional development programme to ensure that I maintain my Chartered status.

What are your future goals?

To establish Trenton Fire Limited as the number one organisation for the delivery of fire engineering services.

Terry O’Neill CEng MIFireE, Registered 2000.