Key role for contractors stopping timber frame fires

Grant Prior 10 years ago
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Contractors will have to make sure they specify the right type of timber frame system to prevent fires under new guidance backed by the Health and Safety Executive.

The new guidelines have been launched by the UK Timber Frame Association (UKTFA) following a spate of high-profile blazes on city centre construction sites.

The association said contractors have a crucial role to play in specifying the right type of system with more expensive products often required than standard open panel timber frame.

It said: “Critically, this Guidance means that timber frame can be built in any location in the UK relative to the fire risk associated with highly populated or inner city areas.”

The Design guide to separating distances for timber frame buildings during construction is the result of extensive fire testing and has been developed in co-operation with the HSE, the Fire Protection Association (FPA), the Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA) and the Fire Brigade Union (FBU).

Dr. Paul Newman, Director of the UKTFA said: “Managing the risk of fire on construction sites is not a consideration for the timber frame community alone, it affects all forms of construction.

“The UKTFA has paved the way in setting a standard for main contractors to follow when managing site safety.

“We are delighted that the HSE and CFOA consider our Guidance worthy of their endorsement and pleased that they felt able to commend our proactive approach in setting fire safety standards.”

Philip White, HSE chief inspector of construction, Health & Safety Executive, said: “There have been a number of dramatic examples in recent years of the damage that construction site fires can cause to neighbouring properties.

HSE has been working closing with the UKTFA on assessing off-site fire risk and we welcome its new guidance.  UKTFA’s Separating Distance Guidance is based on the latest scientific knowledge and provides the industry with a sound basis to help control the risks of projects involving timber frame structures.”

Dave Curry, director, Chief Fire Officers Association: “The UKTFA has to be commended for the way in which it has dealt with this issue.  I would urge the other trade associations representing the primary methods of construction in the UK to sit up and take note.”

The full Guidance is available for download from www.uktfa.com/fireriskmanagement

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