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Don’t let your investment go up in smoke

Typically, when visiting sites, clients say to me, “come on, fire is low risk.”

The reality is construction site fires are low-occurrence, high-consequence events.

The Leonardo Building, near Millennium Square in Leeds city centre, caught fire on the evening of 15 October 2022. The top three floors of the Leonardo Building, which is currently undergoing renovation, were engulfed in flames. The cause is currently believed to be arson.

Other recent examples of major fires on construction sites include the fires at the iconic London night club KOKOS, which was undergoing a £20 million refurbishment, the Glasgow School of Art and of course the international loss at Notre-Dame, which although ruled as accidental with a definitive cause still not yet established, has been suggested as being linked to restoration work taking place in the spire at the time.

Hundreds of fires occur on construction sites (Home Office Statistics Fires on Construction Sites in England recorded 365 in 2018/19) each year which not only involve significant financial loss but potentially put the lives of workers, members of the public and firefighters at risk.

Your loss may not be insured. For example, a London-based construction firm has just been fined £600,000 and its director has also been fined for “serious and repeated failings” around fire-safety risk management on their construction site.  Fines are against public policy and uninsurable.

The Fire Protection Association, to establish best practice fire safety on construction sites, has just made the 10th edition of the Joint Code of Practice for Fire Prevention on Construction Sites freely available.

Although this is not a regulatory document, this is contained in The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations and The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, the objective of this Code, when read in conjunction with HS(G) 168, is the prevention of fires on construction sites. The Code proposes that the majority of fires can be prevented by designing out risks, taking simple precautions, and by adopting safe working practices with all parties involved working together to ensure that adequate detection and prevention measures are incorporated during design and contract planning stages; and that the work on site is undertaken to the highest standard of fire safety.

ProAktive are here to support you to, not only comply with the regulatory requirements, but achieve best practice for fire safety on your construction site as identified in the ‘Joint Code of Practice for Fire Prevention on Construction Sites’ and HS(G) 168.

Contact a ProAktive Risk Consultant for support.

By Ian French CMIOSH GIFireERisk Consultant






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