Legal loopholes mean building refurbishment sites face increased fire risk

April 11, 2020

New Civil Engineer (NCE) magazine has carried an article on the fire risks faced by refurbishment sites. In 2015 the Battersea Art Centre went up in flames, leaving it with a rebuild cost verging on £15M. The Glasgow School of Art was engulfed in flames in 2018 for the second time in four years, and is expected to cost £100M to rebuild. And this January, the iconic Koko club in Camden, London, lost a third of its roof after fire broke out. In France, the historic Notre Dame cathedral in Paris was extensively damaged last year. Repairs are expected to cost up to €600M (£510M). While the Grenfell Tower Inquiry has rightly brought building regulations into the spotlight, fire safety arrangements for refurbishment projects remain a “lacuna”. “Building regulations have been very much on the review. But that is not the same thing as fire risks during construction,” Dr Fathi Tarada suggested to NCE. “We have the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) which is all about the health and safety of workers, we have building regulations which is about regulations once the building has been completed. At the moment, fire safety at construction sites is in the middle.” The full article can be accessed here.

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