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Mixed use premises


Limited, Fire on construction sites: A guide to loss prevention: ‘Each year, insurance companies pay out millions of pounds in claims following significant fire and smoke damage events to commercial and domestic properties during their refurbishment, extension or new construction. The construction process involves significant fire hazards and risks. Fire can totally destroy not only the newly constructed aspects, but also much or all of the existing structure where refurbishment works are being undertaken.’ The actual numbers of fires on construction


sites and the losses from them are far from easy to calculate, as the statistics insurers hold are shrouded in commercial secrecy. The aggregate statistics from the Association of British Insurers do not provide enough granularity for the level of detail required. A trawl through the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) statistics reveals next to nothing about fire safety infringements where the HSE is the enforcer under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. When the data is not easily accessible,


it’s hard to work out the size of the problem of fires on construction sites – whether it is improving or getting worse over time. So is the Glasgow School of Art fire unusual or part of a trend?


Guides and legislation


One thing’s for sure: the insurance industry cares deeply about fires on construction sites. RISCAuthority, the insurer funded research scheme administered by the Fire Protection Association led the project to publish the ninth (2015) edition of the Fire Prevention on Construction Sites: Joint Code of Practice on the Protection from Fire of Construction Sites and Buildings Undergoing Renovation. Applying in general to projects with an original contract value above £2.5 million, the code turns up in almost all documents relating to fire on construction sites. Compliance with the code can be written into insurance contracts, so it clearly holds considerable sway in the industry.


Along with the code and the publication


from the HSE, HSG168: Fire Safety in Construction, contractors on large value sites such as the Glasgow School of Art renovation are subject to a raft of legislation that has safety and the management of risk at its heart. And yet fires still happen.


Grenfell impacts


Major fires grab the headlines for a news cycle or two, then they are relegated to the provincial press and retain a longer term


FOCUS


www.frmjournal.com FEBRUARY 2019


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