It is with great sadness that the ASFP announces that passive fire protection industry stalwart David Sugden passed away on 27 July, following a short battle with pancreatic cancer. David served the industry for more than 50 years, providing forthright views and leadership in a range of senior posts. He was a Chair of ASFP and its CEO from 1997 to 2002.

He was instrumental in the formation of the Passive Fire Protection Forum (then Federation) and was its Chair from 1996-2013. He was also President of the European Association for Passive Fire Protection on two separate occasions.

Born and bred in Yorkshire, David first trained as a mechanical engineer, before joining specialist industrial coatings manufacturer Leighs Paints as a sales representative in 1967, he rose through the ranks, finally serving as Divisional Director of Fire Protection until 1996, when he established his own fire consultancy business advising a range of passive fire protection clients. David continued to work as a consultant to Leigh’s Paints until Leigh’s was taken over by Sherwin Williams in 2011. He continued to provide consultancy services to Sherwin Williams to the end and could often be found working in many of the furthest reaches and remote places of the world. His particular expertise was in international sales and fire protection of structural steel for oil and gas industry and for civil engineering projects.

Passive fire protection was personal for David. He was hugely affected by the Grenfell tragedy which he considered entirely avoidable. He campaigned to the end for improvements in building fire safety, often citing the recommendations of a 2003 ASFP/Department of Trade and Industry study he authored, which he declared had clearly warned of the shortfalls in construction that could lead to such a tragedy.

David was hugely influential in the development of the passive fire protection industry. He leaves behind a significant legacy and a huge gap which will never be filled. David was a real character, a quintessential yorkshireman, who wasn’t shy with his opinions but put them across with great integrity and humour.

He will be greatly missed by all in the passive fire protection sector and we at the ASFP pass on our condolences and best wishes to his family.