Fires on Construction and Renovation Sites
A 2020 report by the National Fire Protection Association gives us insight into the most common fire dangers of unfinished properties. Some of these properties are in the construction phase, and some are undergoing major renovations. The published results are the culmination of a five-year study, looking at fires of this nature from 2013–2017.
These details serve to encourage adoption and adherence to NFPA standards and codes while building and renovating, in order to avoid the added cost and time of dealing with fires as a result of code violations.
The top three causes of construction and renovation fires are in a virtual tie for occurrence percentage, though their resulting damage varies. Electrical failure or malfunction causes 15% of construction fires, while another 14% each come from abandoned or discarded materials and heat sources too close to combustible materials.
Electrical malfunction also causes 16% of civilian injuries in these types of fires, while discarded material and combustion from heat sources cause 6% and 19%, respectively. Also of note is that fires caused by heat sources being too near to combustibles causes almost one fifth of all direct property damage from construction fires.
There are a few other causes of significance, though none with quite the impact of the top three. These include welding and cutting in close proximity to flammable materials or objects, unattended equipment, failure to properly clean work areas and various misuses of materials. The combination of these add up to 26% of construction fires and 27% of civilian injuries, but only 11% of property damage from fires on construction sites.
Adherence to fire codes and proper methodologies could prevent most of these unfortunate fires, and while it’s not always the most convenient way to do this, following these well-researched, thoughtfully crafted prevention codes is the safest way to manage any construction or renovation project.
Considering fire agencies respond to more than 6,000 construction fires alone each year, this report shows us that we’ve still got some ground to make up when it comes to proper fire safety methods.
If your construction project should be hindered by an unfortunate fire, we’re here to help, regardless of the cause. Contact SERVPRO of Fayette/S. Fulton Counties to find out how we can help you get back on track.