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Tue October 27 2020

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Timber frame blazes prompt new fire safety guidance

7 Oct 10 New guidance on fire safety in construction has been published by the Health and Safety Executive, following mounting concerns over timber frame buildings.

New guidance on fire safety in construction has been published by the Health and Safety Executive, following mounting concerns over timber frame buildings.

A succession of fires has led to increasing criticism of timber frame as a construction method.

The HSE said its revision of Fire Safety in Construction has “strengthened” the sections on multi-storey buildings and high risk building such as timber frame “to include lessons learned from recent fires”.

It added: “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.

“Fire safety should be a key consideration on all construction sites, irrespective of size or the duration of the project. The combination of high-risk activities, such as hot work, with circumstances where fires can spread quickly and means of escape maybe difficult, can make them deadly.”

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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.”

The new guidance is relevant to all construction projects, including small refurbishment sites, and is aimed at all those with a role for developing and managing construction sites, including clients and designers.

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

Fire Safety in Construction can be downloaded for free from the HSE website.

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