New guidance on fire safety in construction

The Health and Safety Executive has published revised guidance on Fire Safety in Construction.

Relevant to all construction projects, including small refurbishment sites, the guidance is aimed at all those with a role for developing and managing construction sites, including clients and designers. Much of what is contained in the guidance is not new, but the sections covering multi-storey buildings and high risk building such as timber frame have been strengthened to include lessons learned from recent fires.

The guidance clearly explains how all those involved in construction projects can comply with their legal duties relating to fire risks.

Recently there have been some very large fires affecting sites involving timber frame construction. The guidance contains new and detailed guidance on the fire risks and precautions which should be considered from the earliest stages of such a project. The guidance asks that clients and designers consider carefully the specific site, location and development and the fire risks it poses to those on site and neighbouring properties and ensure those risks are minimised.

Philip White, HSE Chief Inspector of Construction, said: “At worst, fires can, and do kill. They can also badly injure and cause serious human suffering and financial loss. Preventing them must be a priority on any building project.

“We have updated the guidance to take account of changes in the law and recent fires on construction sites. It includes new information on higher risk building such as timber frame and multi storey construction and outlines the extra precautions which need to be taken with these.

“Our inspectors would prefer to offer advice but if lives and livelihoods are at risk they will not hesitate to take enforcement action.”

Copies of Fire Safety in Construction are freely available for download from HSE’s Website

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