The LWF Blog

Fire Engineering Design and Risk Assessment – Fire Safety on construction sites – Part 5

August 10, 2020 1:06 pm

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 4, LWF began discussing fire safety on construction sites. In part 5, we look at the implications of site fires and consider what legislation applies.

While pollution is the obvious environmental issue associated with site fires, it is not the only issue. The materials and workmanship which have so far been used will also be wasted if destroyed by fire.

Financially, providing the site is correctly insured, the losses will be covered and the workforce and suppliers are unlikely to object to the extra income.

Site fires incur little risk of loss of life when the history of construction fires in the UK is considered. Improvements to fire safety standards in domestic premises are often driven by disasters involving loss of life; standards in the construction industry are mainly instigated by the insurance industry who are, of course, looking to reduce their potential losses, which is a less emotive incentive.

Construction of new buildings and the alteration of existing buildings in England and Wales is controlled by the Building Regulations and was also historically affected by Local Acts in some areas. The Building (Repeal of Provisions of Local Acts) Regulations 2012 repealed the Local Acts, which were in effect superseded by the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

During construction, the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, the Construction (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1996 (regulation 18), the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 apply, the enforcing authority usually being the HSE.

Under the Fire Safety Order and other acts, a person who has control of the premises is duty bound to keep the work place in a safe condition and this includes any temporary buildings and accommodation. The duty encompasses risk assessment, provision and maintenance of appropriate means of escape, maintaining fire safety equipment and the provision of training, supervision and information to staff and contractors to ensure health and safety on the site.

In part 6, LWF will look at how temporary and permanent fire safety measures should be addressed on construction sites. 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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