Deliberate construction site fires on the rise

A report compiled by Construction News and using data from the Home Office has revealed that the number of intentionally caused fires at construction sites has increased by close to 43% between 2015 and 2017.

The figures show that there were a total of 119 deliberate fires out of a total of 376 (one third) during 2015. However, in 2017 this had increased to 170 deliberate fires.

It seems that total numbers of fires on sites have been increasing since 2013 when there were 334 fires. In 2017 this figure had risen to a total of 408. The highest figure recorded was in 2011, when there were 426 total fires.

Non-deliberate fires were often caused by misuse of equipment, faulty appliances and leads or placing combustible materials too close to sources of heat. Although all three of these causes had dropped significantly in recent years.

Dave Green, the national officer for the Fire Brigades Union has stated that he is deeply concerned by the findings. He points out that deliberately caused fires put the public, workers and firefighters at risk and that construction sites are at particular risk. He says that regular fire safety inspections are crucial.

Mark Shepherd from The Association of British Insurers says that in 2017 insurers paid out around £945m for commercial property claims due to fire or explosion and that they are also alarmed at these increases. He says that this highlights the importance of insurers working with construction sites to mitigate risk.