Samah Ahmed

Assistant editor, IFSEC Global

December 5, 2019

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Fire safety

Fire safety for high-rise construction sites

Bull Products, a safety protection manufacturer for construction sites, is urging construction companies to implement practical fire risk assessments on high-rise buildings.

It is estimated that there will be 541 new high-rise buildings within the next five years in London, especially for office developments and more living spaces. Concerns have also risen on the risk construction workers might face in the event of a fire breakout in a high-rise building.

One of the major challenges during the construction of high-rise buildings is the number of workers on site at one time. With more people to be accountable for, site managers must ensure that they have an efficient alarm system that can be sounded throughout the building during construction, ensuring workers at all levels can evacuate the site safely in the event of an emergency.

According to The Fire Safety Advice Centre, there are around 11 construction fires every day. Though the percentage is not high, within construction sites there are potentially hundreds of workers who are at risk every day.

Response time for evacuation is also another challenge construction companies face in the event of a fire on site. Research conducted by the University of Greenwich found that a third of construction site workers who took part in evacuation trials took almost six minutes to respond to an alarm during high-rise construction

Six minutes could be a long time period to evacuate a building, which could lead to serious injuries or death of employees. There are many solutions to reduce the risk of this for example:

  • Fire/smoke alarms. For high-rise buildings where workers could be located on different floors and need to be able to quickly alert others if there’s a fire, smoke alarm systems are crucial.
  • Evacuation trials. By carrying out evacuation trials rather than drills, workers can be put to test in more realistic situations, allowing them to respond and prepare as if it were a real-life emergency.
  • Training. Thorough training is vital to ensure workers are aware of how to respond if a fire was to break out, how to alert others in an emergency and the steps they need to take to prevent a fire in the first place.

wireless alarm systems

Director of Bull Products, Bradley Markham, says that implementing fire safety solutions, such as wireless fire alarm systems, to ensure health and safety isn’t compromised is crucial in a high-rise building.

He also believes that construction companies and employees must be aware of the fire risks of working on high-rise buildings before starting a project.

Fires and injuries are a real and ongoing risk, and health and safety managers need to be aware of new and innovative ways of safeguarding workers.

Wireless alarm systems provide the ideal solution for high-rise buildings, as they can be connected to multiple buildings or levels, without the worry of hazardous cables and wires.

Providing comprehensive fire safety protection through a fully linked network of detectors and call points, wireless fire alarms provide the most effective and safest solution for construction sites and workers.

The Future of Fire Safety: download the eBook

Is the fire protection industry adapting to the post-Grenfell reality fast enough? At FIREX International 2019, Europe's only dedicated fire safety event, some of the world's leading fire safety experts covered this theme. This eBook covers the key insights from those discussions on the developments shaping the profession, with topics including:

  • Grenfell Inquiry must yield “bedrock change” – and soon
  • After Grenfell: Jonathan O’Neill OBE on how austerity and policy “on the hoof” are hampering progress
  • Hackitt’s Golden Thread: Fire, facilities and building safety
  • Fire safety community has to “get on board” with technological changes

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