Why Do Buildings Under Construction Catch Fire?

fire-building-under-constructionAlmost every day when you turn on the news you see another building fire. Whether it’s a new building or an old one, a large apartment building or a single-family home, why do these fires often occur when a building is under construction? Here are some of the reasons why:

Old Construction

The building may have been constructed long ago, before modern regulations like sprinkler systems and hydrants for fire protection were in place. Wiring may be outdated and could short circuit, and the wood has dried enough to act as kindling for any kind of spark from construction equipment such as a soldering iron or saw.

Combustible Fuels and Materials

During construction, a number of combustible fuels and materials may be present on site. They include propane, gasoline for powering engines, adhesives, and fibrous insulation. These materials themselves can easily ignite from a spark, or create fumes that are also flammable. Ensure that these materials are kept away from spark-producing sources and lids are properly attached at all times. Spills should be attended to immediately.

Improperly Disposed-of Cigarettes

A careless-discarded or unattended cigarette can ignite combustible fuels, materials or fumes. Be sure to dedicate an area for smoking and equip it with appropriate methods for dousing cigarettes.

No Fire Extinguishers

If a fire does break out, having a working fire extinguisher on hand, and knowing how to use it, is one way to keep a small fire from spreading. Do not attempt to extinguish a growing fire on your own; contact your local fire department and evacuate the premises immediately as fires on construction projects can spread quickly.

Construction Debris

Piles of construction debris or loaded dumpsters create perfect timber for construction fires, especially if oil- or chemical-soaked rags are included in the pile.

Improperly Installed Fuel Sources

It is imperative that gas and propane connections be made properly and installation of these gas systems is up to code. Gas leaks can build up within a structure, leading to explosion if an ignitor – even one as small as a pilot light – is present.


Construction sites are at high risk for vandalism and arson. Storing building materials and tools at the end of each day, and implementing security measures can help in reducing these risks.

Först Consulting Group Can Monitor Your Construction Project

All it takes to start a fire is fuel, oxygen and an ignitor. But like Smokey the Bear, we want to prevent fires. One way Först Consulting Group can help is to serve as your construction project manager for home building or remodeling projects. We will monitor your construction process, to catch any items we believe are detrimental to your project, including construction errors, price and materials management, contractor management, and fire and safety hazards. With Först on the watch as your construction advocate, your construction proceeds smoothly and without costly errors.

You don’t need to go through a construction project on your own. Contact Först Consulting Group today.


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