Fire Safety News and Updates

It is essential that industry professionals keep abreast of developments related to fire safety and the implications if they get it wrong.

Residents in £3m legal claim for loss of homes in destructive fire

The residents of a housing block destroyed in a fire are claiming more than £3 million in damages from the company that built it, and from the housing association that owned it. Ron Alalouff reports.

The residents are claiming against house builder St James – part of the Berkeley Group – and housing association Metropolitan Thames Valley Housing (MTVH) after a fire swept through the four-storey Richmond House in southwest London in September 2019, destroying all 23 flats.

In the claim lodged in the Technology and Construction Court – part of the High Court – the claimants argue that St James is liable for breaches of duties under the Defective Premises Act (DPA) because of the design and construction of Richmond House. They also claim that MTVH breached the DPA and Occupiers’ Liability Act arising out of the design, construction, repair, maintenance, improvement or management of the block.

The residents’ case is that Richmond House was built with inadequate fire safety measures in breach of building regulations and duties under the DPA. The alleged deficiencies included missing and inadequate cavity barriers and inadequate compartmentation.

UK fire services face 46% increase in Lithium-ion battery fires

New research reveals UK fire services attended 46% more fires linked to Lithium-ion batteries in 2023 compared to the previous year.

Data collected by the business insurer, QBE, suggests the batteries that power electric vehicles such as bikes, scooters and cars, were involved in almost three fires a day last year, compared to under two fires a day in 2022.

QBE approached 50 UK fire safety services through a series of freedom of information requests, of which, 42 responded.

The findings show that nearly a third (29%) of lithium-ion fires involved e-bikes, which accounted for 270 recorded fires in 2023, up from 158 in 2022. Over the same period, fires involving e-scooters rose by 7%.
Fires involving electric cars increased by 33% from 89 nationally in 2022 to 118 in 2023. This does remain a low number compared to the one million electric cars on UK roads.

What are the fire safety considerations for a historic site? Is there a careful path to tread for making a site compliant?

Hannah Eales, Partner and Kathryn Sheridan, Senior Associate at law firm Kingsley Napley, discuss fire safety considerations for historic sites. 

Heritage buildings were constructed well before there were any fire safety regulations to adhere to. As such, many historical sites were built using materials that have not been used in over a century which can make them particularly vulnerable to fire damage, resulting not only in the potential loss of the structure itself but the valuable contents housed inside.

All of us will recall the terrible fire of the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris in April 2019 which was undergoing renovation works at the time. This sadly will not likely be the last time a fire threatens one of the world’s iconic historical buildings and it is therefore vital that the responsible person(s) for such sites takes the time to understand their responsibilities and act upon them.

This article seeks to summarise what those responsible for protecting heritage sites must consider by way of fire safety and offers some tips on best practice.

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Arup issues fire safety guidance document focused on timber-based buildings

NEW GLOBAL guidance on how to construct fire-safe mass timber structures has been published and released by sustainable development consultancy Arup in a bid to encourage “more widespread deployment” of the low-carbon alternative to concrete and steel.



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London Fire Brigade sets out new response policy on automatic fire alarms

BEGINNING IN October, the London Fire Brigade (LFB) will change its response protocol for automatic fire alarms in non-residential buildings. The new approach affects daytime hours and requires a confirmed fire call for LFB attendance.



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FBU welcomes HSE plans to inspect Fire and Rescue Services on cancer prevention

WELCOMED BY the Fire Brigades Union (FBU), the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has set out plans to begin inspecting Fire and Rescue Services to regulate measures taken to protect firefighters from carcinogens.



Grenfell Tower fire

Seven years on from Grenfell – has anything changed?

14 June marks the seventh anniversary of the Grenfell Tower fire. SHP hears from the team at passive fire protection specialists, Quelfire, on what changes have been happening since the tragedy. 

In past years, we have focussed on themes such as the importance of responsibility and cultural change within the construction industry, encouraging all parties to be one step ahead of government initiatives.

While there are undoubtedly still challenges within the built environment, many positive changes are taking place. This article will highlight these improvements, exploring how the industry has evolved since the night of 14 June 2017.

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Fire Standards Board launches Internal Governance and Assurance Fire Standard

THE FIRE Standards Board has published the seventeenth professional Fire Standard, which is focused on Internal Governance and Assurance. In essence, this document is all about ensuring that a given Fire and Rescue Service has internal governance structures and business planning processes in place that enable senior leaders to maintain comprehensive oversight of internal activities, in turn delivering assurances that operations are always effective.


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