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Hot works cause 16% of all construction fires

There were 309 fires in buildings undergoing construction work last year, with 16% of them caused by hot works.

That’s according to figures compiled by hot work training specialist CE Safety, based on Freedom of Information requests to 45 of the UK’s fire and rescue services.

The number of construction fires between September 2020 and September 2021 was significantly higher than the 204 during the previous year (which covered the period of the first Coronavirus lockdown when some sites were shut down).

The research found that London had the most construction fires between September 2020 and September 2021, with 84. That was followed by Merseyside and Scotland, which had 19 each.

The regions with most hot work fires were London (5), Derbyshire (5), South Yorkshire (4), West Midlands (4) and Scotland (4)

Costs related to hot work fires over the past decade have resulted in total losses of about £69.8m, according to insurance firm Zurich.

Gary Ellis, hot work permit training specialist at CE Safety, said: “There is no doubt that most hot work fires are caused by negligence and oversight, usually down to a failure to train properly or manage projects effectively and safely.

“Every year we see fires in construction in regions of the UK, and most fire and rescue services have at least one hot work fire to tackle. They are dangerous, can cause injury and ruin projects, not to mention being extremely costly. Ultimately, though, they are avoidable. More vigilance is vital.”

More information is available here.

Construction Management February 2022

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