1. Please explain your role at BRE.
I am the regional Manager for LPCB in the Middle East. I support the brand and help develop our business by ensuring our certification mark is accepted and recognised wherever our customers want to sell their products in the region.
2. What does your typical workday look like?
My days are often very different, but generally I am speaking to, or visiting, manufacturers to discuss their plans for testing and certification. LPCB’s scope of work is very wide, and this means I could be speaking to a Passive manufacturer in the morning, and visiting a Suppression factory in the afternoon. I also speak with the different authorities about our certification, and talk with clients about entering the Middle Eastern market.
3. What led you to move to the Middle East?
I always wanted to work abroad and after finishing my degree in fire safety engineering an opportunity to work for a manufacturer of passive fire protection arose in Dubai. I jumped at the chance and made the move without knowing anyone. 11 years later it’s now my home.
4. Why did you join BRE?
I knew BRE well and had even carried out testing in Watford as a customer. I therefore understood the organisation’s history, and how respected it was in the industry. As a customer I would meet LPCB’s previous international director Mr. Graham Orme whenever he would visit Dubai, he stressed the importance of having a permanent LPCB presence in the Middle East and asked if I would be interested. When the opportunity came up to represent the organisation in the region and help grow its presence, I thought it was an exciting prospect.
5. What do you enjoy most about working at BRE?
The exposure to so many different people and facets of the industry, manufacturers, specifiers, installers, legislators. You get to see every side of the construction industry.
“New, and some existing, manufacturers are often unaware of the difference and think a test report is equivalent to a product certification. That market education is a big part of what I do.”
6. You speak to a lot of customers every day. What is the biggest misconception about BRE you come across?
The most common thing I find myself talking about is Testing vs Certification. New, and some existing, manufacturers are often unaware of the difference and think a test report is equivalent to a product certification. Market education is a big part of what I do.
7. What is the most common challenge your clients come across? How do you help them solve it?
There are two common challenges our clients face:
Operating in the Middle East can be challenging and it’s not always clear what needs to be done before you can enter the market. I help communicate what our clients need to do to operate in the region as best as I can as it tends to change quite often.
The other challenge our clients face can be the expectations around how long a project will take. Products and designs have a certain life cycle and manufacturers are keen to start selling their products as quickly as possible, so we have a duty to carry out our testing and certification in a timely manner. But often these two timelines are not as close as our clients would like. Communicating the project scope and expected timeframe early is important to manage expectations.
8. How has the industry changed since you started? Do you anticipate any major changes in the near future? If yes, which ones?
Every year, the importance of third-party certification has become more and more accepted in the industry . As a result, testing, inspection and certification companies have grown in size and capabilities. As the industry becomes more digitally integrated, I think online, and “live” certifications will be more widely integrated into the BIM design process and the validity of those certificates will be linked to the building’s management, allowing building owners to check their project’s life safety design is fit for purpose at a glance.
9. What’s the best advice you can give to someone who has just started their career in the industry?
Talk to everyone, and understand your customer’s needs.
10. Sum up working at BRE in three words.
Engaging, insightful and fulfilling.
If you have a question for Ed, please contact him directly.
LPCB product certification process
What is product certification?
Certification (or approval) is independent third party confirmation that a product or system meets and continues to meet the appropriate standard. BRE Global offers independent third party certification to existing British, European, International and its own Loss Prevention Standards (LPSs) or Schedules of Requirements