Nicholas Nava
Nicholas A. Nava, P.E., CFEI
Managing Engineer
Thermal Sciences
Bowie

Mr. Nava applies fire protection engineering and fire science principles to the analysis of active and passive fire protection and life safety systems, consumer product performance, material fire performance, and origin and cause investigation of residential, commercial, and industrial fires and explosions. Mr. Nava's training and practice experience includes design and testing of automatic sprinkler systems, fire pumps, design of inert gas and clean agent fire suppression systems, building life safety systems, building smoke management systems, national, state, and local fire and building code compliance, material fire performance, fire testing, fire origin and cause investigations, occupant egress modeling (Pathfinder), and human burn and thermal injuries caused by fire incidents and thermal events.

Mr. Nava uses his diverse background to investigate failures of wet, dry, pre-action, and deluge automatic sprinkler systems in residential, commercial, storage, manufacturing and industrial occupancies, including root cause failure analysis, water infrastructure and supply analysis, hydrant flow testing, sprinkler system water demand and water delivery analysis through hydraulic calculations, construction and as-builts drawing review, inspection, testing, and maintenance requirement analysis, coordination with facility mechanical and HVAC systems, and review of system compliance with applicable codes. This includes failures of automatic sprinkler systems to operate or perform in the event of a fire and inadvertent operation due to rust/oxidation, freezing, excessive heating, and mechanical damage. In addition, Mr. Nava has investigated fires involving operational failure of commercial cooking fire protection equipment (wet chemical systems and dry chemical systems), commercial cooking ventilation systems (hood, duct work, fans), vehicle fire suppression systems, fire alarm and detection systems, fire extinguishers, and consumer products including unit and space heaters, LED light bulbs, tubes, and fixtures, clothing irons, plastic fuel storage cans, dishwashers, microwaves, and low-pressure boilers. Mr. Nava has also investigated explosions and fires involving failures of natural gas and liquefied petroleum (LP) regulators, gas piping systems, and cylinders. His experience also includes the evaluation, inspection, and maintenance of buildings, facilities, and products for code compliance in accordance with National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) codes, International Code Council (ICC) codes, and state/local codes.

Mr. Nava has both small- and large-scale fire testing experience with nationally and internationally recognized standards (NFPA, ASTM, and UL). In the Exponent Thermal Characterization Lab, he manages and executes testing, fabricates test equipment and test setups, and is proficient at installing various types of instrumentation to measure temperature, heat flux, pressure, liquid flow rate, wind speed, and gas concentrations for fire tests.

Previous research he participated in includes the design of a toxic gas monitor for use by firefighters in an active fire environment, flame spread modeling of fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) building materials, cone calorimeter test sample size validation, and the effects of intumescent paint coatings on interior building finish to achieve compliance during fire testing.

Prior to joining Exponent, Mr. Nava worked as a Fire Protection System Design Engineer at a fire protection sprinkler contractor in the Boston area, where he performed fire protection system designs, hydraulic calculations, system testing, and design coordination with architects and plumbing, HVAC, and electrical trades. Mr. Nava also worked as an engineer at the Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent, Maryland, where he was responsible for human aviator equipment maintenance, testing, and validation.

CREDENTIALS & PROFESSIONAL HONORS

  • M.S., Fire Protection Engineering, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, 2014
  • B.S., Mechanical Engineering, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, 2013, with high distinction
  • Voting Alternate Member: NFPA Technical Committee on Fire Hose (FHS-AAA), NFPA 1961, NFPA 1962, NFPA 1963, NFPA 1964, NFPA 1965, National Fire Protection Association (2015 to present)

    Alternate Member: NFPA Technical Committee on Dry and Wet Chemical Extinguishing Systems (DRY-AAA), NFPA 17, NFPA 17A, National Fire Protection Association (2017 to present)

LICENSES & CERTIFICATIONS

Licensed Professional Engineer, Maryland, #52645

Licensed Fire Protection Engineer, California, #1938

Certified Fire and Explosion Investigator (CFEI) in accordance with the National Association of Fire Investigators National Certification Board, NAFI #19662-11698v

Certified Vehicle Fire Investigator (CVFI) in accordance with the National Association of Fire Investigators National Certification Board, NAFI #19662-11698v

Fire Investigation Technician (IAAI – FIT) in accordance with the International Association of Arson Investigators Inc.

HydraCAD Training (16 hours tested)

OSHA 40-hour HAZWOPER Certified (29 CFR 1910.120(e))

Publications

Nava, N. Converting a Wet System to a Dry System – What to Consider (and not forget). NFSA National Fire Sprinkler Magazine, 2018

Nava, N., Biteau, H. CFD Modeling of Flammable Gas Concentration Levels and Empricial Validation Proceedings, 9th International Symposium of Fire Investigation Science and Technology (ISFI), NAFI, pp. 209-217, 2018

Nava, N., Biteau, H. Transportation of Li-ion batteries: The State of Charge Parameter. Proceedings, 16th International Conference on Automatic Fire Detection (AUBE)/Suppression, Detection and Signaling Research and Applications Conference (SUPDET), Interflam 07, Vol. 1, pp. 427-439, Hyattsville, Maryland, USA, September 12-14, 2017

Invited Presentations

Biteau, H, Nava N. CFD Modeling of Flammable Gas Concentration Levels and Empricial Validation. Proceedings, 9th International Symposium of Fire Investigation Science and Technology (ISFI), NAFI, Itasca, Illinois, USA, September 24-26, 2018

Biteau, H, Nava N. Transportation of Li-ion batteries: The State of Charge Parameter. Proceedings, 16th International Conference on Automatic Fire Detection (AUBE)/Suppression, Detection and Signaling Research and Applications Conference (SUPDET), Hyattsville, Maryland, USA, September 12-14, 2017

Nava N, Mahoney S. Evaluation of fiber reinforced polymer bench scale specimen sizes and prediction of full scale flame spread testing for building applications. American Society of Materials Central Massachusetts Chapter 2013 MQP Competition Meeting, Worcester, MA, 2013

Reports

Nava N, Mahoney S, Acosta C, Wright W. Evaluation of fiber reinforced polymer bench scale specimen sizes and prediction of full scale flame spread testing for building applications. Major Qualifying Project, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, 2013

Casola R, Downey R, Nava N, Taylor J. Improving road safety in the Santa Fe Metropolitan planning area. Interactive Qualifying Project, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, 2012

Conferences, Seminars, Workshops, and Specialized Training

“The Fire Protection Engineer’s BIM Experience” webinar, The Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE), 1 PDH, February 26, 2019

“The Growing Danger of Non-Certified and Counterfeit Sprinklers” webinar, The Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE), 1 PDH, January 28, 2019

“SFPE Annual Report” webinar, The Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE), 1 PDH, May 31, 2018

“Development of In-Rack Sprinkler Protection Guidance for Mini-Load Automatic Storage and Retrieval Systems” webinar, The Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE), 1 PDH, May 3, 2018

"WUI Resiliency: Answering to Climate Change" webinar, The Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE), 1 PDH, January 22, 2018

National Association of Fire Investigators (NAFI), International Symposium on Fire Investigation Science and Technology, 2018 (delegate)

DRI, Fire Science and Litigation Burning Down the House, 2018 (controlled burn station coach)

National Association of Fire Investigators (NAFI), Vehicle Fire, Arson & Explosion Investigation Science & Technology Seminar, 2018 (32 hours tested training)

“A Study of Reproducibility of a Full-Scale Multi-Room Compartment Fire Experiment” webinar, The Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE), 1 PDH, November 27, 2017

International Association of Arson Investigators (IAAI), NFPA 921 Update 2017 course, November 9, 2017

“Understanding Commissioning and System Acceptance Testing” webinar, The Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE), 1 PDH, September 25, 2017

“Simulating Hospital Evacuation” webinar, The Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE), 1 PDH, August 28, 2017

16th International Conference on Automatic Fire Detection (AUBE)/Suppression, Detection and Signaling Research and Applications Conference (SUPDET), 2017 (speaker)

National Fire Sprinkler Association (NFSA), Understanding, Applying and Enforcing NFPA 25, 2017

National Association of Fire Investigators (NAFI), National Fire Investigation Training Program, 2017 (28 hours tested training)

International Association of Arson Investigators (IAAI), Expert Witness Courtroom Testimony Course, 2015 (40 hours tested training)

International Association of Arson Investigators (IAAI), Understanding Fire Through the Candle Experiments, August 20, 2015 (4 hours tested training)

International Association of Arson Investigators (IAAI), Fire Investigator Scene Safety, July 10, 2015 (3 hours tested training)

International Association of Arson Investigators (IAAI), NFPA 1033 and Your Career, June 22, 2015 (2 hours tested training)

International Association of Arson Investigators (IAAI), The Practical Application of the Relationship Between NFPA 1033 and NFPA 921, June 22, 2015 (2 hours tested training)

International Association of Arson Investigators (IAAI), Fundamentals of Fire Investigation Course, March 15, 2015 (40 hours tested training)

International Association of Arson Investigators (IAAI), The Scientific Method for Fire and Explosion Investigation, March 5, 2015 (3 hours tested training)

International Association of Arson Investigators (IAAI), Explosion Dynamics, September 16, 2014 (4 hours tested training)

International Association of Arson Investigators (IAAI), Ethics and the Fire Investigator, July 22, 2014 (3 hours tested training)

International Association of Arson Investigators (IAAI), Fire Protection Systems, July 22, 2014 (3 hours tested training)

International Association of Arson Investigators (IAAI), Documenting the Event, March 6, 2014 (4 hours tested training)

International Association of Arson Investigators (IAAI), Ethics & Social Media, March 6, 2014 (3 hours tested training)

International Association of Arson Investigators (IAAI), Arc Mapping Basics, June 4, 2013 (4 hours tested training)

International Association of Arson Investigators (IAAI), Digital Photography and the Fire Investigator, May 31, 2013 (4 hours tested training)

Professional Affiliations

International Association of Arson Investigators—IAAI (member)

National Association of Fire Investigators—NAFI (member)

National Fire Protection Association—NFPA (member)

Society of Fire Protection Engineers—SFPE (affiliate member)

National Fire Sprinkler Association – NFSA (member)

News & Events

CREDENTIALS & PROFESSIONAL HONORS

  • M.S., Fire Protection Engineering, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, 2014
  • B.S., Mechanical Engineering, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, 2013, with high distinction
  • Voting Alternate Member: NFPA Technical Committee on Fire Hose (FHS-AAA), NFPA 1961, NFPA 1962, NFPA 1963, NFPA 1964, NFPA 1965, National Fire Protection Association (2015 to present)

    Alternate Member: NFPA Technical Committee on Dry and Wet Chemical Extinguishing Systems (DRY-AAA), NFPA 17, NFPA 17A, National Fire Protection Association (2017 to present)

LICENSES & CERTIFICATIONS

Licensed Professional Engineer, Maryland, #52645

Licensed Fire Protection Engineer, California, #1938

Certified Fire and Explosion Investigator (CFEI) in accordance with the National Association of Fire Investigators National Certification Board, NAFI #19662-11698v

Certified Vehicle Fire Investigator (CVFI) in accordance with the National Association of Fire Investigators National Certification Board, NAFI #19662-11698v

Fire Investigation Technician (IAAI – FIT) in accordance with the International Association of Arson Investigators Inc.

HydraCAD Training (16 hours tested)

OSHA 40-hour HAZWOPER Certified (29 CFR 1910.120(e))