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Fire safety on construction sites

Fire Detection, Fire Alarms and Firefighting Equipment for Construction Sites.

Construction Fire Safety needs to be managed from the earliest stages of design and needs to address the risks both to site workers and to site neighbours. The majority of fires can be prevented by designing out risks, taking simple precautions, and adopting safe working practices.

Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM) define duties in relation to fire safety at the construction site and identify factors that should be taken into account when making fire safety arrangements; the Regulatory Reform Order 2005 sets out who is responsible for enforcement. Although the legislation has changed in recent years, the requirements for fire risk assessment remained the same.

CDM Regulation 29 requires that "Suitable and sufficient steps must be taken to prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, the risk of injury to a person during the carrying out of construction work arising from - (a) fire or explosion; (b) flooding; or (c) any substance liable to cause asphyxiation." CDM Regulation 30 requires that "Where necessary in the interests of the health or safety of a person on a construction site, suitable and sufficient arrangements for dealing with any foreseeable emergency must be made and, where necessary, implemented, and those arrangements must include procedures for any necessary evacuation of the site or any part of it."

The principal contractor should always ensure that Fire Safety Risk Assessment is carried out in accordance with fire safety legislation.

Fire Detection and Fire Alarms for Construction Sites

Fire warning systems must ensure that people on the construction site are alerted to make their escape before a fire spreads. The fire warning signal must be distinctive, clearly audible above any other noise and recognized by all the people on site. Fire alarm systems should often be fitted as part of the construction work.

False alarms and unwanted fire signals can be costly on any construction project however careful selection of fire safety systems can reduce this nuisance.

Different methods of giving fire warnings vary from site to site.

  • on very small open-air sites ‘word of mouth’ may be adequate
  • on a very limited number of open-air sites that a shout of ‘fire’ might not be heard or could be misunderstood, a small self-contained proprietary fire alarm unit may well be required
  • on the majority of construction sites wired-in or wireless system call-points and sounders will be required to provide an effective fire warning system in order to meet the requirements of BS 5839
  • Visual alarm systems should be considered for noisy areas or where there are workers who suffer from a hearing impairment

Although automatic fire detectors should not be fitted during construction work sometimes on high-risk sites or in temporary accommodation units such as site offices, if there are locations where a fire might occur and develop unnoticed until it threatens people’s means of escape, detectors may be appropriate.

When a fire is detected and the alarm raised, everyone should make their immediate escape without delay. In case of a false alarm, the procedures to verify the outbreak of a fire should be developed.

How to make your site fire alarm system effective and operational?

A nominated and competent person should do weekly checks and tests. Also, periodically service and any necessary rectification or repair should be carried out by a competent person who has an appropriate level of training and experience.

The work should be carried out in accordance with the supplier’s instructions or, where relevant, to an appropriate standard, for example, BS 5839.

All the records of the work carried out should be recorded. It is especially important to ensure that, as the site develops, the alarm system is modified so that effective coverage of the entire site is maintained.

General means for communication should be tested daily, eg portable radios or any intercom devices should be checked at the start of shifts. Servicing should be in accordance with supplier recommendations.

Firefighting Equipment for Construction Sites

The primary purpose of fire extinguishers is to prevent fires to become larger or to aid an escape. Fire extinguishers should be located on hooks or stands to keep them above ground level.

Extinguishers should be provided appropriate to the risk:

  • Water, dry water mist or foam for wood, paper, card etc (Class A)
  • Foam, dry water mist or dry powder (not to be used inside unless necessary) for flammable liquids (Class B)
  • CO2, dielectrically tested foams (up to 1000V) and dry water mist (up to 1000V) for electrical risks

Fire extinguishers should comply with the standard BS EN 3–7: 2004 and they should be regularly checked, properly maintained and in case of an accident, properly used.  Examination of fire extinguishers and hose reels should be done at least annually in accordance with BS 5306: Part 3, 2009 and BS 5306: Part 1, 2006. The work should be carried out by a competent person who has received appropriate training. The date and results of the examinations should be recorded, often on a service sticker attached to the individual piece of equipment.

Fire extinguishers for class A materials recommend a minimum quantity of extinguishers with an A rating should be calculated as follows:

  • For any storey with a floor area less than or equal to 400m2, there should be at least two extinguishers with a class A rating; having a combined minimum total fire rating of 26A
  • For any storey with a floor area exceeding 400m2, there should be at least two extinguishers with a class A rating; having a combined minimum total fire rating of 0.065 x floor area of the storey (in square metres)
  • Extinguishers should be provided for other risks as appropriate

More complex sites may require wet or dry risers to be fitted; some may need sprinkler systems.

All fire-fighting equipment should have clear operating instructions with it. Those carrying out higher-risk activities, such as hot work, need to be competent in the use of the fire-fighting equipment and training should be provided.

Larger and more complex structures, such as multi-storey buildings, may have fixed fire-fighting systems installed. These may range from dry and wet risers to automatic sprinkler systems. Dry and wet risers are provided for the fire service to tackle a fire quickly. The continued availability of these in existing buildings, and their early commissioning in new buildings, is therefore recommended.

Fire extinguishers may be required for specific risks particularly when processes such as hot cutting are taking place but otherwise should be provided according to BS5306 part 8 2012 guidance. Multipurpose fire extinguishers are available, and the ratings of each extinguisher should be examined.

Emergency Lighting for Construction Sites

Emergency lighting to illuminate the escape routes and for illuminating specific tasks will be required on all but the simplest sites where borrowed or spill-lighting may be adequate.

Effective site management is critical and preventing fires from starting and growing is key.

Got a question about Construction Site Fire Alarms? Need Fire Safety Compliance advice?  Get in touch today!

For over 45 years, Fixfire® has been providing quality products, systems and services for Life & Property Protection. Whatever your requirement, please call our Compliance Team for expert advice and a refreshingly different approach.

Freephone 08000 891999

You provide a suitable up to date drawing of your building in either:
  • Hard copy
  • PDF
  • Or preferably AutoCAD (dwg) format
Depending on the availability of installation records and the complexity of the building, we arrange a visit to identify the zone number associated with each Fire Alarm Manual Call Point and Fire Detector (for practicality this may involve two engineers).
Fire Alarm Zone Chart is created.
Fire Alarm Zone Chart is supplied in A4 or A3 glazed frame for installation adjacent to your Fire Alarm Panel.

For over 45 years, Fixfire® has been providing quality products, systems and services for Life & Property Protection. Whatever your requirement, please call our Compliance Team for expert advice and a refreshingly different approach.

Freephone 08000 891999.

False Fire Alarms remain a huge concern within the education sector- interrupting already carefully scheduled, planned and well-prepared lessons or even causing major disruption and distress to exams.  

Clearly, these false alarms cause significant inconvenience and disruption to students, staff, and visitors. They compromise everyone’s safety in the school and present a significant risk to the local community since the Fire Brigade will prioritise the school over other emergency callouts.

Solutions you should consider:

Anti-tamper products

The first and most straightforward way is to use anti-tamper products.

Fixfire® supplies a wide range of solutions designed to protect Fire Alarm Devices from inadvertent damage or deliberate misuse/vandalism.

Products include:

  • Local plastic cover flaps which attach directly to manual call points.
  • The stopper consists of a clear, tamperproof, tough polycarbonate cover, frame and spacer that retrofits over a break glass call point. When lifted to operate the break glass unit, its optional battery powered integral sounder emits a piercing 96dB (at 1m). Immediate attention is drawn to the area and a prankster will either run or be caught!
  • A range of steel web stoppers designed to protect fire detectors and warning devices. They are constructed from heavy-duty galvanised steel rod which is plastic-coated for durability and external use.
  • A range of polycarbonate enclosures are available for the protection of devices such as fire alarm control panels and associated control equipment. The enclosures combine tough rugged construction with stylish design and offer excellent protection with a key lock for authorised access.

We also provide anti-tamper devices for fire extinguishers and associated products.

KeyCall® Call Point

KeyCall® is a patented anti-ligature Fire Alarm and Access Control call point. It is designed to use the same key as the doors, providing simple operation for staff whilst eliminating nuisance activations by service-users.

KeyCall® has been developed by Fixfire® specifically for approved applications where standard versions would be vulnerable to abuse.

It is one of the best solutions for SEN schools and it is also compatible with a wide range of Conventional and Addressable Fire Alarm Systems.

Conduct Fire Safety Training

Most fire safety courses offer a mix of classroom-based learning and practical training experience, educating attendees on how to respond in the event of an emergency.

 In order to fulfil your obligations under current Fire Safety Law, it is essential that you have a documented regime of Fire Safety tests and checks and personnel who are suitably trained to respond correctly in the event of an emergency.

All Fire Safety Training is provided by experienced, time-served and qualified persons from a Fire Safety background.

Video surveillance

Even if the cameras don't identify the culprit, they can identify who was in the area at the time of the false alarm activation. Fixfire® specialises in integration and will bring together your Fire, Access and Security systems providing enhanced functionality.

Fixfire® provides leading-edge integration with ancillary systems and equipment. Our mission is to deliver reliable, well-engineered installations that provide you with peace of mind 24/7.

Place fire detectors in the correct locations

Smoke detectors that are placed too close to kitchens, cooking appliances, locker rooms or bathrooms will most likely be accidentally activated by the smoke or steam emitted by these sources. Detectors might need to be relocated.

Smoke detectors are more sensitive and are installed in any environment where smoke or steam would not normally be present. Heat detectors are installed in areas such as kitchens where smoke detectors would constantly false alarm during routine cooking. Multi-sensors combine smoke and heat in one detector and offer immunity to false alarms in certain applications.

Use the right detector

New detectors have improved technology and can measure a range of conditions to potentially be more effective at detecting a fire condition.

Flush Fire Detectors ensure protection is not compromised in any areas where conventional ‘un-pluggable’ detection could be subject to abuse. It is widely used in SEN Schools.

Maintain your Fire System

Make sure the alarm system is properly and regularly maintained.

Fixfire® is BAFE accredited for the Design, Installation, Maintenance and Servicing of Fire Alarm Systems.

All works are carried out by our employed, uniformed and trained Fire Alarm engineers.
Following each visit, a Certificate of Inspection is issued.

Got a question about False Fire Alarms? Need Fire Safety Compliance advice?  Get in touch today!

For over 45 years, Fixfire® has been providing quality products, systems and services for Life & Property Protection. Whatever your requirement, please call our Compliance Team for expert advice and a refreshingly different approach.

Freephone 08000 891999

Fire safety equipment on a construction site
Fire safety equipment on a construction site
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Fire safety on construction sites
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