UK

Concern over fires in timber frames under construction

Fire engine
Image caption Firefighters say a blaze involving a timber frame under construction can be very intense

An urgent review is needed into the regulations governing the construction of timber-framed buildings, fire chiefs have said.

The Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA) says it is dealing with an increasing number of fires as timber-framed properties are being built.

It says while such buildings are not inherently unsafe, fires tend to spread faster and burn more intensely.

The UK Timber Frame Association says its buildings are completely safe.

They also comply with all the present regulations, the association added.

But the CFOA claims that lives are being put at risk and that building regulations need to take account of this.

One in four new homes built in the UK is timber framed. They are easier to construct and considered more eco-friendly than traditionally built homes.

The fire service says these buildings are completely safe as long as fire prevention measures are not compromised, but that occupants may not realise that DIY or even professional building work may increase the risk of fire spreading.

Firefighters say there is a huge amount of heat generated with fires involving timber-framed construction, meaning crews cannot get near the building to tackle them.

The government says it is listening to the fire chiefs' concerns and will work with the industry to establish if there are risks associated with timber-framed buildings.

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