Similar to how bacteria is a greater threat to your body when your chest is spread wide for open heart surgery, a fire is more likely to strike and more apt to cause extensive damage when your home is under construction or renovation. Take special care when your home is in its most vulnerable state.
Protect your investment with building insurances and decrease the likelihood of fire damage by understanding the causes of construction fires and the actions you can take to prevent them from breaking out.
A mighty flame follows a tiny spark.
A building site is home to a wide variety of ignition sources, and recognising what these risks are is the first step towards preventing them from sparking a fire.
Smoking: It’s not uncommon for tradies and construction workers to smoke, and face it, most guys getting paid by the hour will care less about your own personal policy on the dangers of smoking. Nip this problem in the bud by setting up a smoking station away from the house complete with ashtray and comfortable seating. Be polite but firm in requesting that all smoking be done in this designated area.
Hot work: Welding, soldering, and other hot work generates heat, sparks, and flames. It is extremely important to clear work areas of combustible materials prior to beginning any hot work. Also, have a fire extinguisher handy in the event that a fire does ignite, especially when working inside the walls of a timber-framed home.
Electrical equipment: From space heaters to power tools, if it runs off electricity there’s always a chance of sparking. You’re not going to build a home without power saws and hammer drills, so the key here is maintaining a tidy work area and keeping a close eye on combustible materials.
All this lighter fluid can turn your home into a BBQ pit!
Coupled with additional ignition sources, building sites introduce a whole slew of accelerants and combustibles. Gas tanks, paint thinner, dry timber, adhesives, insulation, building scraps, and so on. All this stuff just lying around can turn your home into the fire department’s worst nightmare. Take these simple steps to reduce the risk that the neighbours will be roasting marshmallows over the embers that used to be your living room!
Quantity: Sometimes the presence of flammable materials in the work area is unavoidable, so limit the quantity of these materials to the bare minimum. Store materials that are not currently required away from the work space, preferably outside of the building altogether.
Flammability: When shopping for construction materials, look for options that are more flame resistant.
Keep it clean: Rubbish is one of the primary causes of construction fires. Building is dirty work, and so it can be a real pain to try and keep up with the growing mess, but shelling out a few bucks on a mini skip is better than watching your house burn to the ground. Tidy up yourself if need be, don’t get burned by laziness! Pay special attention to sawdust and paper-based packaging.
Adding insult to injury.
Now that we’ve thrown the left hook (ignition sources) and right jab (accelerants and combustibles) it’s time for the knock-out punch. When a fire breaks out in a new construction or a home under major renovation, there’s a good chance that a small problem can quickly escalate into a huge disaster.
When a building’s walls are incomplete, cross-winds fan the flames. Without the presence of plasterboard to slow down and contain the fire, it will rapidly spread from room to room. While you can’t skip this phase of building, what you can do is exercise fire avoidance practices and arm yourself with an insurance policy in the event of a catastrophe.