Government statistics for England reveal that one in eight fires on half-completed buildings are timber frame

New government statistics show timber framed buildings suffer more damage from fire than other forms of construction in England.

The annual fire statistics monitor, published by the Communities Department, has statistics dedicated to timber frame fires for the first time.

The statistics show half-completed timber frame buildings suffered a high number of fires with one in every eight fires on a half-completed building being constructed from timber frame. In the period of 2009-10 there were 50 fires in half built timber frame buildings compared with 400 fires in other forms of construction.

This compares with figures for completed buildings which show that there is one fire in a timber framed building for every 59 fires in non-timber frame buildings. In completed buildings there was a total of 802 fires in timber frame buildings compared with 47,600 fires in non-timber frame.

The statistics also show that fires in half-constructed timber frames dwellings caused a greater area of damage when compared to fires in ones built from other materials.

Of the fires in half-built timber framed dwellings 46% of these resulted in damage to an area greater than 10 square metres compared to 25% for non timber framed dwellings.

Twenty eight per cent of the fires in half-built timber framed dwellings damaged an area greater than 200 square metres compared to 4% for other forms of housing construction. The figures were similar for half constructed non-housing.

The figures also show that fires are larger in completed timber frame housing than other forms of construction. Forty seven per cent of fires were over 50 square metres in non timber framed housing compared with 32% for other forms of construction. The figures for fires in completed non-housing were broadly similar for all types of construction.

There was no difference in the casualty rates for all types of construction.