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The London Assembly wants to see fire sprinklers on timber frame construction sites

London Assembly wants fire sprinklers on timber frame construction sites
Published:  17 December, 2010

Provision of temporary sprinklers and changes to Building Regulations are two of the London Assembly’s demands in its long-awaited report on fire safety in timber frame buildings.

The assembly planning and housing committee’s report – Fire safety in London: Fire risks in London’s tall and timber framed buildings - published today, recommends “urgent action” to address a “crisis of confidence” about fire risks on timber frame construction sites.

It says the government should not wait until 2012 to start its planned review of fire safety regulations because of the “significant level of concern” about the safety of timber frames sites following recent fires.

The committee recommends temporary sprinklers to be installed on timber frame construction sites, as well as a mandatory requirement to inform the fire brigade of new timber frame sites so firefighters know what type of fire they will be dealing before they arrive at a blaze.

The report also calls for local authorities to forbid occupation of timber frame sites until the whole development is complete, due to the quick spread of fire on partially complete sites.

“Building Regulations need to be reviewed specifically in relation to timber frame construction techniques,” the report says.

“The industry must also identify the safety critical stages of the construction phase, like the installation of barriers to stop fire spreading through wall cavities, and ensure inspections are made at these stages.”

Committee chairman Nicky Gavron said the fire safety of tall and timber-frame buildings was an issued which “cannot wait”.

“As we construct at higher densities and with more environmentally-friendly materials we will see more tall and timber-framed buildings,” she said.

The committee also said some DIY modifications, such as installing extra plug sockets could compromise fire safety measures in timber frame buildings.

The report and recommendations will be considered for formal agreement  at the committee’s meeting on February 9.