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In 2008, Buchanan identified a necessary prerequisite for the advancement of structural fire engineering. He stated that "fire engineers and structural engineers need to talk to each other". In an attempt to address this need, the following paper provides a historical context of structural fire engineering and presents the results of research conducted when fire engineers and structural fire engineers do, indeed, talk to one another and work together on the same problem. The fire engineering approach is that developed by Stern-Gottfried and Rein using travelling fires to capture realistic fire dynamics in a large compartment, and the structural fire approach by Law and Gillie on the whole frame behaviour of a concrete building. These techniques are not the only approaches, nor are they the ultimate product of Buchanan's challenge. However, they show how a rational approach to both fire engineering and structural engineering can provide design tools that would be meaningless or impossible otherwise.