Risk of Fire Due to Materials on the Construction Site

During the construction of any building or structure, there are always plenty of materials such as protective coverings, scaffolding sheets or other rubbish to be disposed lying around or stored on the construction site. These are potential sources of fuel in case of a fire outbreak on the worksite.

Protective Coverings

Protective coverings are usually used on the construction site and are quite common during the fit-out phase where fixtures such as handrails, doors, panels, floor coverings, etc. require to be protected against any damage. These coverings can be substantial contributors and can act as fuel in case of a fire on the worksite.  The risk is higher when such protective coverings are used to protect things in fire escape stairways and must be avoided.

You can make use of coverings made of fire retardant material in order to reduce the risk. Materials that comply with the LPS1207 (Loss Prevention Standard) meet the flame-retardant standards. However, despite having fire retardant properties, these materials can still burn, and hence, you should keep at least one fire escape stairway without any of these protective coverings.

Reducing Risk from Protective Coverings

The equipment that is fragile and requires protection must be fitted as late as possible. Ensure that the protective coverings being used meet the fire-retardant specifications.

Scaffold Sheeting

In the case of a fire, external scaffolds can provide a better means of escape. However, if these scaffolds are covered with sheeting, not only will they contribute to the fire load, but cannot be relied upon as a means of escape. If you plan to use the scaffold as a means of escape during a fire, then the scaffold sheeting used must be carefully planned and used according to the flame-retardant specifications. If possible, scaffolds should be kept without any sheeting as this not only helps to reduce the fire load but also reduces smoke logging in the escape routes.

Garbage Disposal

There is plenty of easily ignitable and flammable rubbish that is generated on a construction site, especially in the later stages of the project. The SWMP or Site Waste Management Plans has laid out some rules and regulations regarding how building materials and waste must be managed during a construction project. By following some very simple rules, rubbish accumulation can be prevented.

You must set some rules for waste management on the construction site and ensure that they are followed. The rubbish must be cleared at least once a day. Facilities such as skips or bins should be provided for the rubbish to be stored.

Flammable rubbish like rags, paper, etc. must be stored in fire-resistant, close-top containers such as a metal bin. Keep the rubbish storage bins outside the construction site and place it where it does not put the worksite or other properties at risk in case of a fire. Sacks, wooden pallets, fibre bags must be stored in a safe place until they are removed from the construction site.

Skip Safety

If the skip is situated at a distance that is less than 3 meters from other structures, you must take adequate steps to prevent any skip fires from spreading.  Keep the skip near a fire-resistant wall that can prevent any fire from spreading to other flammable parts of the construction structure. Do not place the skips under overhanging eaves or canopies. Restrict the amount of combustible material put into the skip. Empty out the skip before the rubbish becomes significant to start a fire. Use a chute that is made of non-combustible material.

By taking adequate precautions to safely dispose flammable materials such as protective sheeting, scaffold covering and waste from the construction site, you can protect your workers and your worksite from any fire. And to strengthen the fire safety on your construction site, Cygnus fire alarm and fire protection systems guarantee ultimate reliability and performance.