The LWF Blog

Fire Safety for Facilities Management Personnel – Fire Prevention & Outside Contractors  – Part 109

August 2, 2021 11:06 am

Lawrence Webster Forrest (LWF) is a specialist fire engineering and fire risk management consultancy whose aim is to give information on best practice in fire safety for facilities management personnel through this blog series. In part 108, LWF began to look at what should be included in the contract conditions between client and contractor. In part 109, we will continue to look at the contract conditions necessary to prevent incidences of fire on site.

The contract between the client and contractor should encompass certain important fire safety matters, such as (continuation from part 108):

  • All hot work on site should be subject to a permit to use system and includes cutting, welding and blowlamps. A sample permit can be obtained from the Fire Protection Association. Authorisation should be given and signed off after ensuring the work cannot be carried out off-site, the location is safe and all precautions have been implemented. The area should be checked again on completion and again 30-60 minutes after completion. Combustibles should be removed from the area before work commencement wherever possible, any combustibles not removed should be protected with non-combustible screens or covers and any holes in the surrounding construction must be protected to prevent the sparks entering. If possible, two people should be present during the hot work, at least one of whom must have first aid fire-fighting training. Fire extinguishers and hose reels should be nearby. Flashback arrestors should be fitted to the cylinders of cutting and welding equipment.


  • It is important that tar boilers are never left unattended and are kept well away from combustible materials. These too should be subject to a permit to work system and the area of use must have fire extinguishers or fire reels to hand. Tar boilers shouldn’t be used on roofs unless unavoidable.


  • Temporary accommodation units should be situated at least 10 metres from buildings, where site space permits. An adequate clear space should be maintained between units and apertures underneath the units must be blocked off so that rubbish and other sources of combustible materials cannot become trapped underneath.


  • Any temporary electrical installations must comply with the relevant requirements of the Wiring Regulations. Additionally, any temporary electrical installations must be inspected and tested every 12 weeks.


  • Where temporary heaters must be used, they should be removed when not required. When in use they must be installed on non-combustible surfaces. General space heaters should be fixed in position and kept clear of any combustible materials.


  • Security of the site must be maintained during contractors’ operations to avoid arson, vandalism and other intrusions that could potentially be a fire risk.


  • Combustible materials, packaging and rubbish should all be stored appropriately, at least 10 metres away from the building.


In part 110 of this series, LWF will look at industrial operations. In the meantime, if you have any queries about your own facilities or wish to discuss this blog series, please contact LWF on freephone 0800 410 1130.

Lawrence Webster Forrest is a fire engineering consultancy based in Surrey with over 25 years’ experience, which provides a wide range of consultancy services to professionals involved in the design, development and construction and operation of buildings.

While care has been taken to ensure that information contained in LWF’s publications is true and correct at the time of publication, changes in circumstances after the time of publication may impact on the accuracy of this information.

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