One of the benefits we offer our customers is our compliance to NFPA 241. This is the National Fire Protection Association Standard for Safeguarding Construction, Alteration and Demolition Operations, and they are standardized and required across all states using the NFPA 1, the NFPA 5000, the International Fire Code or the International Building Code.
These standards are designed to protect buildings and structures during the construction phase, when renovations or restoration is in progress, or when the building is being demolished. Each of these times creates a potential risk for small fires or large, highly destructive fires that can rapidly spread throughout a structure or between buildings, causing multi-million dollar damage.
It is also critical to keep in mind that the NFPA 241 standards are not just designed for large-scale construction, renovation, and demolition projects, and they are required for even small-scale types of projects.
We follow NFPA 241 guidelines, but it is also important for others involved in the project to follow the standards as well. This includes code officials, building owners, fire chiefs, and building managers. The building owner or manager is responsible for appointing a Fire Prevention Program Managers or FPPM, who will direct the contractors and others working on the job.
The Risk Factors
Many causes of fires at construction and demolition sites are completely preventable. Something as basic as dropping a cigarette or operating equipment in an unsafe manner can result in the possibility of sparks, combustion, or dangerous conditions.
Coupled with these risk factors is the lack of fire protection or fire suppression systems in place. This is true in new construction where the systems are not installed, but it is also true for renovation or demolition where the systems may be turned off or no longer functioning during renovations or preparation for the demolition.
Ignition issues, such as sparks from saws or welding, grinding, or soldering equipment, can also increase the risk of fire. The same is true for space heaters used in colder climates during winter construction projects.
Finally, the risk of fires is increased in unsecured buildings. When anyone can access the site, there is a greater risk of a fire due to intentional vandalism or accidental fires.
Following NFPA 241 ensures buildings are secured at all times, helping to reduce the risk of access by unauthorized individuals. It also provides information on the correct use of equipment, specific hazards and processes, the storage of hazardous or flammable materials, and how to safeguard specific operations to reduce the risk of fire during work as well as around the clock for a given construction site.
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