Long after the workday ends, risks continue at construction sites, as fire, theft and water can cause significant property damage and can potentially delay project timelines and impact budgets. The presence of combustible materials, the lack of effective security controls and unstable structural elements can make sites more vulnerable to loss. Buildings under construction or renovation are particularly susceptible because they are unoccupied with portions unprotected from inclement weather. This increased risk, along with daily changes in construction activities and building progress, presents a unique challenge to those in charge of managing site protection.
Fire Risks and Controls
- Cutting, welding and grinding: develop and enforce a formal, written, hot-work permit system with all trades and subcontractors based on NFPA 241, Standard for Safeguarding Construction, Alteration, and Demolition Operations.
- Smoking: smoking should be prohibited inside any building, outside near combustible materials and fuel storage, and strictly enforced If smoking is allowed, it should only be permitted in designated areas.
- Temporary heating equipment: Ensure all heating equipment is listed and approved for its intended use, placing temporary heaters only on non-combustible flooring or platforms and keeping areas around space heaters clear of combustibles.
- Temporary electrical writing and temporary lighting: Temporary electrical wiring and equipment for light, heat or power purposes should be installed in accordance with the requirements of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 70® National Electrical Code and inspected regularly by a qualified electrician.
- Fire suppression systems: fire protection systems be installed early and plans developed to provide temporary protection during the project.
- Fire extinguishers: Mount in conspicuous positions, on each floor at each usable stairway and train staff in their use.
- Good housekeeping: Waste material and rubbish should not be stored or allowed to accumulate within buildings or the immediate vicinity, and should be removed from the premises daily. Keep dumpsters a safe distance from structures.
Water Damage Risks and Controls
- Prevention: Potential sources of unwanted water include temporary roofs, balconies, domestic water service, HVAC and fire suppression piping systems. Follow construction specifications, quality control testing and conduct periodic inspections as part of planning to prevent water damage.
- Detection: In addition to instructing workers to report potential leaks to site management, electronic flow/leak detection systems or security guard services can aid in early detection and response.
- Response: A water damage response plan, including equipment, should be readily available
Theft, Vandalism & Unauthorized Entry
- Physical barriers
- Electronic surveillance systems
- Security guard service
- Project materials management: Plan for just-in-time delivery of materials if possible, and store them in a secure location to reduce the risk of theft.
The author is providing the material and viewpoints on a generic informational basis. All references to various insurance policies, coverage terms, policy language, exclusions, definitions etc. are from a broad selection of general insurance information. It is not intended to be used for any specific policy or coverage situation. The views expressed by the author do not necessarily represent the views of the insurance companies it represents. Content has been referenced from The Travelers Indemnity Company.