The LWF Blog

Fire Engineering Design and Risk Assessment – Fire Safety on construction sites – Part 15

October 19, 2020 10:54 am

In LWF’s Fire Engineering blog series for Architects and others involved in building design, we have been looking at those activities of a company which can be classed as fire safety management. In part 14, LWF considered how individuals are held responsible for fire safety precautions in the eyes of the law, through the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and how any perceived dereliction of those duties can lead to criminal prosecution. In part 15, we discuss fire training for construction site staff and life safety standards.

In order to create and maintain good fire safety awareness on a site, it is important to foster an environment of vigilance. One way of achieving this awareness is to improve firefighting and fire safety training for contractors on site. It would then be possible for a minimum number of suitably-trained staff to be on site during working hours.

The provision of facilities to monitor the maintenance of fire precautions can be offset against the potential for losses which can arise from inadequate provision.

Life safety on construction sites remains of paramount importance. In the UK, we have a record of nil loss of life from construction site fires in the recent past and it is imperative this is maintained.

The provisions made on a given construction site are of paramount importance in protecting staff on site and the lives of firefighters charged with attending a fire. While it is not helpful to isolate a few areas as being more important than other considerations, there are certain items which must be addressed for life safety purposes:

Escape Routes to ensure egress to a place of safety

Detection and alarm to ensure earliest alert of a fire

Ventilation to allow smoke to escape

Compartmentation to limit fire and smoke spread

It should be noted that escape routes should be suitably signed and with emergency lighting as necessary. Emergency lighting on construction sites often fails to meet satisfactory standards and is addressed in the Joint Code.

In part 16, LWF will begin to look at those fire precautions on a construction site which are built-in or ‘hidden’. In the meantime, if you have any questions about this blog, or wish to discuss your own project with one of our fire engineers, please contact us.

Lawrence Webster Forrest has been working with their clients for over 25 years to produce innovative and exciting building projects. If you would like further information on how LWF and fire strategies could assist you, please contact the LWF office on 0800 410 1130.

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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