Renovations are a part of life for
a commercial building. Whether they're renovations due to tenant changes or
upgrades in an aging building, many facilities undergo renovations that
coincide with the changing needs of the facilities. This became more of the
norm as the economic environment stunted growth in new construction in recent
years. Repurposing buildings or adding on became a viable option when
investments were scarce. But where there is construction in an existing
building, there is risk of fire.
Maybe it's just me, but I've
noticed an increasing number of reports of fires in commercial buildings
undergoing renovations. Just a simple internet search will show at least a
dozen fires in the U.S. over the last few months. These buildings range from
commercial office buildings to apartment buildings. From an electrical problem
to a spark caused by construction equipment, these fires have caused millions
of dollars in damage. Fortunately, the buildings are less likely to be occupied
due to the fact that they are being renovated except for some apartment
buildings. Unfortunately, it’s a topic that doesn’t seem to get much attention.
What are the causes for these fires?
According to an old study by NFPA, the leading causes of fires in buildings under construction were incendiary or suspicious (39.5%); open flame, embers or torches (20.8%); and heating
equipment (9.7%). One could surmise that vandalism and insurance fraud
are probably root causes for suspicious fires. Nevertheless, fires started by
any reason are devastating to the building and dangerous to firefighters who
risk their lives.
What do you think can be done to
prevent these fires during times of renovation? Has much changed in the last
decade and what could be done about it? We
want to hear from you! Please share your thoughts in the comments
Richard Conner is the Director of Marketing for
Fire-Lite Alarms, Silent Knight and Honeywell Power. Richard joined Honeywell
in 2002 and has over 15 years of experience in the fire alarm industry in
Marketing, Engineering, and Product Support positions. Richard is responsible
for developing brand strategy and marketing programs for all brands.