HSE Backs UKTFA Guidance to Deal with Timber Frame Construction Site Fires

By Uk Timber Frame Association, PRNE
Sunday, December 4, 2011

LONDON, December 5, 2011 -

The UK Timber Frame Association (UKTFA) has launched the definitive Guidance to building timber frame safely on sites in high-risk and densely populated areas, developed with the backing of the HSE.  The Guidance will drive the issue of fire risk management right back to the early stages of the specification process and ensure the main contractor has fully managed the fire risk and specified the correct type of timber frame in line with the Guidance.  

Critically, this Guidance means that timber frames can be built in any location in the UK relative to the fire risk associated with highly populated or inner city areas. It also means that the contractor will have to take responsibility for specifying the correct type of timber frame as set out in the UKTFA Guidance and be able to demonstrate to the HSE that the Guidance has been adopted.  

Called ‘Design guide to separating distances for timber frame buildings during construction’, the Guidance is the result of extensive fire testing and expert input from the fire engineering community and has been developed in co-operation with the HSE, the Fire Protection Association (FPA), the Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA) and the Fire Brigade Union (FBU).

Dr. Paul Newman, director of the UKTFA says “Managing the risk of fire on construction sites is not a consideration for the timber frame community alone, it affects all forms of construction. The UKTFA has paved the way in setting a standard for main contractors to follow when managing site safety. We are delighted that the HSE and CFOA consider our Guidance worthy of their endorsement and pleased that they felt able to commend our proactive approach in setting fire safety standards.”  

Philip White, chief inspector of construction, Health & Safety Executive, comments:   “There have been a number of dramatic examples in recent years of the damage that construction site fires can cause to neighbouring properties. HSE has been working closing with the UKTFA on assessing off-site fire risk and we welcome its new guidance.  UKTFA’s Separating Distance Guidance is based on the latest scientific knowledge and provides the industry with a sound basis to help control the risks of projects involving timber frame structures.”

Dave Curry, director, Chief Fire Officers Association: “The UKTFA has to be commended for the way in which it has dealt with this issue.  I would urge the other trade associations representing the primary methods of construction in the UK to sit up and take note.”

The Guidance, which applies to structures over 600m[2], is aimed at architects, designers, developers and contractors, enabling them to fully extract the benefits of timber frame construction and also assess the fire risk to neighboring buildings should a fire occur during construction -a requirement of HSG168 ‘Fire Safety in Construction’ published by the HSE in October 2010.  This Guidance is available for download from www.uktfa.com/fireriskmanagement.

For further editorial information please contact Emma Hayes, emma@futurepr.uk.com.


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