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Loss analysis


Main category: Dwellings Sub category: Purpose built flats and maisonettes, single occupancy, ten or more storeys


Jan 2009 to Dec 2017: During this period, large loss fires in dwellings accounted for 18.9% of all large loss fires


The numbers: There were 1,004 large loss fires involving dwellings, 12 of which occurred in flats with ten or more storeys


Cause Dwellings Flats with ten or more storeys


Time of day Dwellings


Flats with ten or more storeys


Impedances Dwellings


Flats with ten or more storeys


Accidental 61.5% 100%


9.7% 0.0%


Deliberate 16.0% 0.0%


14.4% 25.0%


Unknown/unassigned 22.6% 0.0%


00:00 - 06:00 06:00 - 12:00 12:00 - 18:00 18:00 - 00:00 Unknown 15.5% 8.3%


16.2% 16.7%


Total 127 1


Access 91 1


26 0


44.2% 50.0%


Acetylene Inadequate water Resources 1 0


9 0


The cost: Fires involving dwellings account for 9.6% of estimated financial losses in all large loss fires, with an average of £333,202 per fire. Large loss fires in flats with ten or more storeys cost a total of £5,243,412 with an average loss of £463,951


Insurance component


Dwellings


Flats with ten or more storeys


Material damage


85.6% 97.6%


Business


interruption Contents Loss of rent 0.7%


0.0%


Fires in dwellings cost on average £782 m2 £478 m2


3.7% 0.0%


6.0% 1.7%


Machine and plant


0.1% 0.0%


Stock Other 0.2% 3.7%


0.0% 0.6% ; whereas those in restaurants and cafes cost on average


a shame that no figure is given for the contents of high rise flats, although it is recognised that personal possessions often have a much greater sentimental than monetary value. The records, of course, do not include detail of the construction of the building (such as the number of stairways), or allow the contribution made by external cladding or other features to be estimated. A final surprise is that the average large


loss fire in a high rise block resulted in a loss of £478m2 £782m2


, which is significantly less than the in the case of an average dwelling


fire. The reason may be that these homes are perhaps smaller than others which feature in the large loss fire statistics, and sadly only appear in the figures as a result of numerous homes being involved in a single incident.


Minimising the risk


There is much that has been written and that continues to be written following the Grenfell Tower fire concerning lessons to be learned from fires in such buildings, and this is not the place to repeat those. Fire and rescue services


throughout the country have been reviewing high rise properties in their areas to ensure that there would be no difficulties with immediate access in the future, and satisfying themselves that there is suitable access to ample supplies of firefighting water in the vicinity. It is hoped that housing managers in the public and private sectors will liaise with their local fire and rescue service, and establish a dialogue with their residents to allow information to be given about the actions that they should take on discovering a fire, or becoming aware of a fire in the building in which they live. Equally, housing managers should be open to hearing the concerns and suggestions of their tenants, so that problems may be identified and suitable remedial actions taken or reassurance given, as appropriate. Fires in high rise flats are extremely serious, and this analysis has perhaps demonstrated that the threat to life posed by such events is much greater than the threat to property, which all will agree is of much less consequence


Adair Lewis is technical consultant at the Fire Protection Association


These statistics are based on information supplied by loss adjusters to the FPA on a voluntary basis and not all insurers conducting business in the UK contribute to this dataset. They represent only sums paid out where the total loss is in excess of £100k and are deficient of losses under £100K, deductibles, underinsurance, uninsured, self insured and captively insured components, which may be significant. In a year, total losses captured typically account for 50% of the ABI declared annual fire loss figure – which is similarly deficient of the same components (except the £100k threshold).


www.frmjournal.com FEBRUARY 2019 53


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