Fire Safety in Construction
25 April 2019
We at My Elearn Safety are always looking to share valuable information with our followers. The HSE has a great publication on Fire Safety in Construction, Guidance for clients, designers and those managing and carrying out construction work involving significant fire risks.
Have a look at our Fire Safety Awareness course overview here.
Fire Safety in Construction
Fire risk assessment
Legislation requires a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment to be carried out by a responsible person (the employer or persons in control).
The FSO places responsibility for compliance on the ‘responsible person’. Article 3 defines the responsible person as:
- The employer (for a workplace to any extent under the employer’s control); or
- A person who has control of a premises in connection with them carrying out any trade, business or other undertaking (for profit or not); or
- The owner, where the person in control of the premises does not have control in connection with the carrying on by that person of any trade, business or other undertaking.
As with assessments of risk from other hazards, the fire risk assessment should be based on the following approach:
- Identify the hazards.
- Identify people at risk.
- Evaluate, remove, reduce and protect from risk.
- Record, plan, inform, instruct and train.
Step 1 Identify the hazards
The basic principles which follow are relevant to fire risk assessment in all circumstances. However, it is important to note that there will be different things to consider for new builds compared to the refurbishment of an existing building.
For a new build, your assessment will include its location and proximity to other buildings, the type of construction materials and methods. While completed buildings have the standards of fire protection required by Building Regulations, during construction and before final fire protection is in place the building will be more vulnerable to fire.
This vulnerability can often lead to the whole structure being involved in fire with resultant on- and off-site fire spread issues, eg the building could be timber framed and more vulnerable to fire before the external finishes are in place. This vulnerability needs to be taken into account early in the design process.
In some situations the additional costs entailed in providing adequate controls might make it more cost effective to specify alternative methods or materials from the outset. For a refurbishment project it will be important to take into account, among other things, the age and construction of the premises, eg the building could have a relatively heavy fire load due to lath and plaster ceilings and walls, wooden panelling and floors. There may also have been changes to the fabric of the building that could have significant consequences in a fire.
The publication goes on to include:
- Staps 2 – 5 in a fire risk assessment
- Detailed guidance on fire risk assessment and fire precautions
- Legal and enforcement responsibilities
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Have a look at our Fire Safety Awareness course overview here