The Health and Safety Executive, in partnership with the Structural Timber Association, has written an ‘open letter’ to parties involved in the design, specification, procurement and construction of timber frame structures

It is hoped that the communication will promote a better understanding of the fire risk management across all rungs of the supply chain. Fire precautions during the construction of timber frame structures reside within the HSE’s remit.

“For any project, regardless of the construction method, duty holders have legal responsibilities to ensure the safety and health of workers and those who might be affected by their work activities, including those arising from fire risks,” the letter reads.

“Serious incidents have arisen where fires involving timber frame structures under construction have affected neighbouring buildings. Consequently, HSE has worked with the STA to produce guidance on reducing the risk of harm to people in buildings adjacent to the construction site.”

Appropriate mitigation methods, the letter advises, should “always” be developed  prior to the commencement of construction on site.

What happens if I breach the safety laws?

The letter reads: “All those making design and procurement decisions that significantly affect fire risk should consider and reduce the risk and consequences of fire during the construction phase through DESIGN.”

Failure to do so, it adds, may constitute a “material breach1 for which HSE will apply its Fee for Intervention scheme to those duty holders who have contributed to the breach”.

You can read the whole open letter here