The GB Health and Safety Executive has recently published a revised version of its fire safety in construction (HSG168) document.

Several years in the making, the latest edition contains guidance explaining the need to eliminate and/or mitigate fire risks during the design phase.

The guidance, aimed at all those working on construction projects who procure, design, develop and manage construction sites, including clients and designers, is intended to enable construction professionals to achieve good fire safety management and compliance with the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015.

It also suggests how to prevent site fires from starting and ensuring people’s safety if they do.

Construction fire safety needs to be managed from the earliest stages of design and procurement and needs to address the risks both to site workers and to persons living or working in neighbouring buildings. This may mean reviewing particular construction methods, materials, or a specific site location to achieve effective fire risk reduction at the planning stage.

Where design risk reduction is not practicable specific mitigation measures must be identified by the designers and principal designer. It is essential to consider fire safety measures throughout all stages of the design and procurement process and to implement them effectively during the construction phase.

The risk assessment and fire safety measures must identify high-risk activities or construction methods where fires can spread quickly, and situations where evacuation plans are complex. All risk assessments and control measures must be reviewed during the construction phase to ensure they remain suitable and sufficient during the ever-changing environment and conditions.

The publication doesn’t reference the findings of the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017 because the fire did not occur while the building was being renovated or constructed.

The new guide is available to download for free here.