The LWF Blog

Fire Engineering Design and Risk Assessment – Fire Safety on construction sites – Part 6

August 17, 2020 12:00 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 5, LWF looked at the implications of site fires and considered what legislation applies. In part 6, we consider how temporary and permanent fire safety measures should be addressed on construction sites.

A completed building usually incorporates suitable fire precautions so that if a fire was to occur, only a controlled amount of damage would be incurred.

The fire precautions included would be most likely to have been based on statutory requirements, which are concerned with the protection of life rather than property. It would still be useful to be able to rely to some extent on the fire precautions provided for the final building, rather than having to install temporary measures to protect the building during construction or alteration.

While the early installation of fire protection provision for the building may add cost in terms of non-sequential works, it is often less than the cost of ad-hoc temporary fire protection measures, although it is likely some temporary measures will still be required.

So, one option is to install the fire precautions as the work progresses, preserve them during the works and leave them in good working order at building completion, ready for building occupation.

A second option is to introduce extra fire precautions during the building work and then either leave them in the building or remove them prior to handover. However, it could be considered wasteful of resources to provide temporary facilities that should be removed and far better practice to incorporate them into the end provision, or consider reusing items (where possible) on future construction projects.

Fire hazards for a building under construction and one which is completed and occupied, are very different. Fire risks are greater before the building is complete or when it is undergoing substantial alteration and this will be highlighted in the ongoing risk assessments.

Temporary fire protection measures on construction sites should be considered carefully. Active fire protection measures, such as fire detection and firefighting facilities are more likely to be maintained and protected, while passive provisions, such as temporary partitions are more prone to damage, although they can be inspected easily and regularly.

In part 7, LWF will look at the criteria for fire precautions during construction. 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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