Safety body warns timber-frame buildings ’more vulnerable’

The Health and Safety Executive has released new guidance for preventing fires on building timber frame sites after series of conflagrations on timber frame projects.

It says that timber framed buildings are more susceptible to fire before finished and that they are more likely to spread the blaze to nearby buildings.

The guidance states that a timber framed buildings is “more vulnerable to fire before the external finishes are in place” and that “timber-framed buildings creates a heightened risk of a fire spreading beyond the site to neighbouring buildings.”

The HSE said it was releasing the guidance in the wake of several fires on timber framed sites, most recently at a site in Basingstoke on 17 September.

It said: “Recently there have been some very large fires affecting sites involving timber frame construction. The guidance contains new and detailed guidance on the fire risks and precautions which should be considered from the earliest stages of such a project.

“The guidance asks that clients and designers consider carefully the specific site, location and development and the fire risks it poses to those on site and neighbouring properties and ensure those risks are minimised.”

The report recommends subdividing large timber framed structures into fire compartments and considering the risk posed by several timber framed buildings on one site.

Read the guidance here.