The Chief Fire Officers Association is calling for an urgent review of the building regulations in relation to external fire spread from fires involving construction sites. This follows significant fires involving large timber framed buildings under construction in Peckham, Camberwell and Basingstoke, all of which resulted in fire damage to adjacent buildings.
To quote the association: "Large timber framed buildings under construction pose a significant risk to firefighters, construction workers and members of the public. The use of timber frame as a method of construction, together with other innovative construction products and techniques has increased markedly in recent years as an alternative to traditional building construction methods."
The latest fire involving a timber framed building occurred on September 10 in a four storey complex under construction in Basingstoke in Hampshire. CFOA Vice President, CFO Peter Holland said: "But for the tenacity and heroic efforts of fire crews responding from Hampshire, Surrey and Royal Berkshire Fire and rescue services, the consequences of this fire would have been much worse. Managers of building sites need to ensure their security arrangements are robust to reduce the risk of fires being started."
Communities and Local Government is commissioning research into firefighting in timber framed buildings, and also fire spread within and beyond such buildings. CFOA is calling for this research to be accelerated and the findings published as a matter of urgency.