News Construction Industry Warned Early Stage Fire Risk

Delays in installing passive fire protection could be putting workers at risk, according to one of the UK’s leading passive fire safety specialists.

The message, from contractor Gunfire Limited, calls for the construction industry to consider fire protection, during the beginning stages of a build.

“While the understanding of passive fire safety has improved over the past decade, thanks to the Approved Document B, Building Regulations (2010), more still needs to be done to ensure a safer working environment for construction workers onsite, ” says James Reid, passive fire safety spokesperson at Gunfire.

“When construction activities are not adequately controlled, safety is compromised and fires are more likely. We’ve been made aware of a number of cases where fire safety has been overlooked during a build and the consequences have been vast.”

Mr Reid continues: “All buildings are vulnerable to fire and until all fire protection measures are in place, the risk of fire spreading increases. It is therefore essential that as soon as the interior fit-out is under way a passive fire protection contractor should be sought and package confirmed.

“With the help of a passive fire contractor during the initial drawing stages, designers can specify that permanent fire protection, such as stair enclosures, should be constructed as early as possible to improve means of escape for site workers. Additionally, prior installation of fire mitigation methods such as fire detection and suppression systems will also reduce the risk. If the fire is compartmentalised, commercially it may save the integrity of the building and also reduce the cost of recovering the fire damaged site.

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“It’s definitely a case of the earlier the better. By sourcing a passive fire protection contractor at the earliest possible stage will ensure a safer job in the long run. They can maintain a consistent standard of works throughout the project, including materials used on the job. Overall the customer will benefit from cost savings and liability will be reduced.”

Mr Reid concludes: “Ultimately, a passive fire protection contractor should be on site as soon as possible, to provide knowledge in areas such as fire safety that may be overlooked. A fire protection contractor will improve the safety of a construction project significantly, bringing peace of mind to the customer, but more importantly the workers on-site.”

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