Managing Fire Risk during Cladding & replacement works

Monday, January 7, 2019

We have recently been informed the HSE will be carrying out inspections of all cladding removal and replacement projects to ensure that the risks arising from the construction works have been properly considered and addressed.

They have also produced a technical note to assist clients manage cladding and removal works effectively. It is designed to ensure suitable communication, coordination and cooperation between all parties involved in the project. We note the requirement for the Principal contractor in-coordination and cooperation with the client and designer to make sure a thorough Fire Risk Assessment is carried out to ensure adequate controls are put in place as a result of the Assessment.

We believe the is a best practice approach and recommend this should be extended to ALL projects where there is a reasonable risk this may affect adjoining residents and third parties on general construction projects below 10 storeys as in our view similar risks apply.

Controls to be considered for all projects should include;

  • Reducing and mitigating ignition sources and far as is reasonable and foreseeable within the Design and construction process.
  • Avoiding hot works where possible and specifying alternatives.
  • Where this is not possible improving on the permit to work process for supervision and sign off process.
  • Site security out of hours taken into account the programme of Hot works activities. 
  • Fire detection and warnings taken into account surrounding areas and residents in close proximity to the project.
  • Scaffolding access & egress arrangements to be improved in line with the HSE technical note i.e. introducing stair towers rather than ladders with 2 forms of access and egress from the place of works.
  • Scaffold sheeting and areas within the scaffold to be fire resistant .
  • Welfare arrangements to gantries to increase fire protection and controls to mitigate the spread of fire.

Each project should be assessed to determine the risks and controls that are relevant and  should be read in conjunction with the HSE guidance Fire in construction HSG168.

Should you require any additional help or advise please do not hesitate to contact us.