Stephen Robinson of the London Fire Brigade says a fire in a concrete or steel building isn’t an issue.

As building professionals we should consider the following:

  • Buildings under construction are surrounded by scaffolding composed of timber, which can burn and damage steel or concrete.
  • For a typical three-bedroom timber-frame house, there is about 7m³ of timber and 2m³ of timber sheet material. In the equivalent brick-and-block house there is a timber roof, timber internal non-loadbearing walls and a timber intermediate floor – about 3.6m³ of timber and 1m³ of sheet material. A steel-frame house usually has a timber trussed rafter roof and a chipboard floor deck – 1.5m³ of timber and 1m³ of chipboard.
  • Concrete and steel are non-combustible but still vulnerable in partially complete buildings as there is unprotected timber around and in the buildings.
Geoffrey Pitts, technical director, The Palmer Partnership