Business Sprinkler Alliance

The true cost of fire

Building fires occur at an alarmingly high frequency and have an impact that goes way beyond that of the owners and its immediate occupiers. The fire safety guidance of the Building Regulations (provided by Approved Document B – ADB) is based on a consideration of life safety impacts. However, the true impact of a fire is much more than life safety as a fire has economic, social and environmental implications. So why is property protection not given greater consideration?

Insurance Isn’t Enough

Insurance alone is not enough. From offices to industrial buildings, healthcare facilities to hotels; the impact of a major fire can be devastating and many businesses never recover. But the cost of fire in industrial and commercial buildings goes far beyond the expense and impacts on individual businesses and insured costs. Fires are the cause of significant economic, environmental and community costs, many of which are ultimately borne by the taxpayer.

Fire Creates a Ripple Effect

Whilst we would like to think of fire as an isolated, neatly packaged event, it very rarely is. Fire is never an isolated incident. When a fire happens in a single home, it may just be a case of one family being displaced, but when you have people living together in multiple residential units, the impact of a fire is much larger. This is the same argument we are making for our schools, hotels and care homes, as well as commercial and industrial buildings.

If we are to learn anything from the Covid-19 pandemic, it is that the crisis has highlighted how interconnected we all are. Similarly, a fire will not only impact one person or one company; its impact radiates out. If we do not do something we will continue to see large, dangerous, destructive and costly fires. Moreover, the trend for larger industrial and commercial buildings means we could see even larger fires with more business and supply chain impacts, local disruption and job losses. These and fires in residential and institutional buildings all place burdens on local authorities with costs ultimately borne by the taxpayer.

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  • Massive fire at self-storage warehouse impacts hundreds of customers

    January 10 2019

    A fire that engulfed a four-storey self-storage warehouse in Croydon on New Year’s Eve, destroying 1198 rented units, has once again brought into sharp focus the wider impact of fire and the...

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    October 05 2021

    Less than two weeks into the new school term and a primary school in Wiltshire has suffered a major fire. Following 18 months of pandemic disruption, students at the school near Pewsey will once...

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  • Business fails to recover from catastrophic fire

    October 17 2019

    Three-and-a-half years on from a destructive fire that engulfed a plastics manufacturer’s unsprinklered factory in Lancashire, the lasting effect is undeniable as the £50 million turnover...

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