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Fire safety at worksites

During construction work, the risk of fire is significantly higher compared to the building’s normal use. At repair, clearance and expansion sites, where the building is still partly used by the residents or other people, fire safety often requires special arrangements.

Worksite plans

The developer’s representative and the contractor must compile a worksite plan for safety. Any special arrangements should always be reported to the building's users and they must be noted down to the location’s emergency plan. The plans must be updated whenever the worksite arrangements change. A work phase cannot be started before an inspector has inspected the safety arrangements. The plans must always take into account the following matters and their schedules:

• Emergency access roads
• Signs and guidance to the location
• Location of worksite barracks and the storage area
• Emergency exits
• Hot work plan and control plan
• The worksite’s fire compartmenting protective walls
• First-aid extinguishing equipment
• Smoke ventilation
• Liquefied petroleum gas
• Oil heating
• Disconnection of the fire alarm and the sprinkler

Emergency access roads

The real estate’s owner and occupant must ensure that the access roads intended for emergency vehicles and other access routes (emergency access roads) are kept free and in a driving condition. In addition to this, they must ensure that the roads are marked as appropriate.

If an emergency access road must be closed, an alternative route must be arranged for it, which fulfils the standards set for emergency access roads and which has been clearly marked. No goods should be stored in the lifting site of a high-rise unit. Any overhead cables that could disturb the operations of the high-rise unit must be removed. Movable work machines must be removed from the emergency access road after use.

Guidance to the location

A signboard must be installed in the area, if there are any special arrangements, such as unusual driving routes. The building’s address signs must always be clearly visible. If a so-called protective hood must be used for the building, the address numbers and the letters/numbers of different stairwells must be marked on the protective hood in the immediate vicinity of the stairwell in question.

The worksite’s fire compartmenting protective walls

  • The worksite must always be compartmented from the premises in use with the help of compartmentation by use.
  • Usually, EI 60 section is a sufficient compartmentation class.
  • Plans must be compiled for the structures to be compartmented.
  • Small renovations, such as painting, do not usually require compartmentation.
  • The necessity of protective walls should always be negotiated upon with the rescue authorities or building inspector.
  •  Fire doors must be kept closed. They cannot be wedged open.

Bushings

Special attention should be paid to the tightness of bushings. In the pipeline renovations of residential buildings, in particular, apartments on top of each other become one fire compartment because the openings necessary for pipe installations in the floor structures are left unsealed during the work. In such case, it is very probable that a fire would spread from one apartment to another. If the residents stay at the apartment during the renovation, their safety is endangered due to the defective sealing of the bushings. Therefore, the appropriateness of bushings should be constantly monitored at worksites. After each work stage, the seals should be put in place immediately, using approved products and methods.

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