Unoccupied Buildings – Fire Safety Guidance

Unoccupied buildings continue to generate significant findings and concerns caused mainly by deliberate Fires, theft of fixtures and fittings and malicious damage.

Insurance Companies see an increase in the number of claims when Premises, Buildings are not in use, which they believe could have been prevented if the properties were properly secured and effectively managed.

In order to help persons protect these properties, a leading Insurance Company have developed the following guidance to outline the level of protection they recommend for vacant properties.

“Fire – the most common cause of fire in the United Kingdom is deliberate Fire setting (arson). Unoccupied Premises, Buildings are particularly vulnerable as they are unattended and therefore become a target of thieves and vandals, who often also start Fires for reasons including to destroy evidence of committed crimes.

To reduce the risk of deliberate Fires, it is very important to ensure that all material that could help to start and spread a Fire is removed from both inside and outside of the Premise, Building.

Non occupied sites can also be vulnerable to fly-tipping, therefore it is also important that a regular inspections regime is implemented to ensure that any damage to the Premise, Building or accumulations of waste and rubbish are quickly addressed.

It is typical that once minor damage has been caused to a property or low level fly tipping takes place, this tends to escalate into more damage and larger incidents. Prompt repairs and waste removal are essential to minimise the risk of the property being targeted for further attack.

It should be considered if it is appropriate for Mains electrical services to be disconnected, other than circuits required for Fire alarms or intruder alarm systems.

Contents and fixtures are often left in the buildings, which provide ready fuel for a Fire and it should be decided if these should be removed or minimalised. Additionally any internal doors that are missing or left open should be repaired and closed. Such actions can assist significantly in preventing a Fire from developing quickly and minimise damage in the event of a Fire taking place.”

London Fire Risk Assessments advice is for you to inform your insurance Company of any proposed closure or any other circumstance which could affect any future Claim. Also, even unoccupied Buildings should still be the subject of appropriate Risk Assessments, including an up to date Fire Risk Assessment. If you need help with this call us on 0781 8888626 or email and we will talk you through the best way for you to complete a Fire Risk Assessment.