Ryan Hilditch

Current positions held

Director of Fire Safety (Australia) – Hydrock Consultants


Dr Ryan Hilditch has a background in fire science research and over the last decade has built significant commercial experience in performance-based fire engineering design for modern building infrastructure and high-hazard industries. During this time he has also focused on R&D and engineering methodology development for a range of novel fire safety hazards, leading research and strategy nationally for consultancy on topics including external flame spread, fire safe design of mass timber and battery electric vehicles.

His PhD research was in mixed convection entrainment, and he was part of a team at University of Edinburgh to carry out a series of high profile, large-scale travelling fire experiments for the characterisation of open plan compartment (travelling) fire dynamics. He continues to conduct and publish research and is particularly interested in the challenges associated with practical application of the scientific research to real projects. He has significant experience of fire engineering in high hazard environments (fire detection, hazard modelling, fire safety strategy). This has included large projects for global oil & gas operators and assessing on/offshore assets worldwide, and published research in the area of fundamental failure mechanisms of the automatic detection of combustible gas on high hazard offshore assets.

A primary focus at present is the disparity between the standardised industry approaches to the design of mass timber structures for fire and the current scientific research findings that suggest that a better understanding of the complex fire dynamics associated with compartments of timber construction is imperative for the safe design of these buildings and to be able to articulate the redundancy built into such designs. It is considered that the work being done through the Timber Hub is critical to helping solve this global, contemporary fire safety problem.

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