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Protecting Your Construction Site from Fire, Water and Theft

Long after the workday ends, risks continue at construction sites, as fire, theft and water can cause significant property damage and can potentially delay project timelines and impact budgets. The presence of combustible materials, the lack of effective security controls and unstable structural elements can make sites more vulnerable to loss. Buildings under construction or renovation are particularly susceptible because they are unoccupied with portions unprotected from inclement weather. This increased risk, along with daily changes in construction activities and building progress, presents a unique challenge to those in charge of managing site protection.

Fire Risks and Controls

As mentioned above, buildings under construction have a greater potential for significant property damage from fire, especially before fire suppression systems are installed and operational. Secure site access by fencing the area to avoid vandalism and other losses. These guidelines can help reduce the risk of fire on site.

  • “Hot work” – cutting, welding and grinding. Many construction fires are caused by the improper use of torches for cutting, soldering, roof work, blazing and welding. Contractors should develop and enforce a formal, written, hot-work permit system with all trades and subcontractors based on NFPA 241, Standard for Safeguarding Construction, Alteration, and Demolition Operations.
  • Smoking. Careless smoking is a leading cause of fires. To reduce the chance of fire, smoking should be prohibited inside any building, outside in the vicinity of combustible materials and fuel storage, and strictly enforced. ”No Smoking” signs should be posted at all points of entry. If smoking is allowed, it should only be permitted in designated areas.
  • Temporary heating equipment. Depending on weather conditions, temporary heat (propane, kerosene or electric) may be used on job sites. If this equipment is not kept clear of combustibles, set up incorrectly or not functioning properly, it can cause a fire. Ensure all heating equipment is listed and approved for its intended use, placing temporary heaters only on non-combustible flooring or platforms and keeping areas around space heaters clear of combustibles. Read Full Story
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