Buildings under construction present unique fire hazards that require special attention. Fires can result in major losses and long delays in the completion of a project. Fire safety can be ensured if flammable materials are kept away from heat and oxygen.
Three ingredients of fire are fuel, oxygen, and source of ignition. If any of them is removed no fire will occur. To ensure fire protection and safety, fire precautions during construction for commercial and residential should be planned before starting any construction work.
Fire Precautionary Measures During Construction
- Less use of flammable materials like timber, bamboo, coal, paints etc.
- Quantities of flammable materials should be kept to a minimum at work sites.
- Flammable solids, liquids, and gases must be stored away from oxygen and oxidizing materials. Smoking should be prohibited in fire risk areas of the work place.
- Precautions must be taken in transporting, storing, handling and using flammable materials.
- Electrical fires occur due to insulation failure, overloaded conductors, and poor connections. Hence, proper care must be taken.
- Fire extinguishers should be kept at strategically convenient points. Personnel should be trained to use them.
- Fire safety equipment should remain parked at site round the clock.
- Adequate water should be available for fighting the fire.
- Buckets filled with sand should be kept in appropriate places for smothering the fire.
- Fire protection and detection equipment must be maintained during construction and demolition.
For fire safety, compliance builders and site supervisors need to ensure the required fire precautions are installed in the building while under construction, like installation of fire doors, suitable fire extinguishers on each storey of the building and fireproofing no matter what size or stage of the construction work.
Fire extinguishers must be located adjacent to each required exit or temporary stairway or exit. The site supervisors must draw up a construction phase plan and this should include the fire safety and emergency procedures for the site. The plan must include suitable and sufficient arrangements for dealing with any foreseeable emergency including:
- Sufficient number of suitable emergency routes and exits that must be kept clear and free from obstruction and, where necessary, provided with emergency lighting so that it may be used at any time as access routes.
- Exit routes must be indicated by suitable signs
- Where necessary suitable and sufficient fire safety equipment and fire detection and alarm systems must be installed
- Workers must be instructed in the correct use of fire-fighting equipment
Fire precautions during construction are mandatory for any Class 2-9 building, with different requirements depending on the size and stage of the development or the type of performance solutions adopted.