The company said the requests were sent in order to ‘find out the number of fires reported in the construction industry, and how many of those were caused by hot work’, and found out that there were 218 fires in buildings under construction across England, of which 44 or 20% were caused by hot work. The five locations with the most construction site fires were London with 81 fires; Devon and Somerset with 27; Merseyside with 19; Lancashire with 18; and South Yorkshire with 17.

In terms of those fires caused by hot work, Dorset and Wiltshire had the highest for buildings under construction with 24 fires, followed by East Sussex with seven, London with four and Derbyshire with three. Other locations ‘had one or zero fires caused by hot work’, and the company was also able to establish that ‘the main cause[s were] welding/cutting equipment, combustible articles too close to the heat source, and incidents involving the use of a blow torch or other industrial equipment’.

There were a total of four injuries across England, and of 40 FRSs contacted 10 did not record information ‘relevant to [the] construction industry’, while five had ‘not replied yet’. For Wales, South Wales FRS confirmed there were three fires in buildings under construction that were caused by hot work, with two caused by soldering and the other by welding, with no injuries reported.

North Wales FRS confirmed one fire incident with no casualties or deaths recorded, with this fire caused by industrial equipment, while Mid and West Wales FRS recorded 13 incidents related to welding equipment ‘within various property types’. Causes were also divided into ‘careless handling’ or disposal, combustible articles too close to heat sources or fires, natural occurrence, and ‘negligent’ use of equipment, with no injuries reported amid 17 fires caused by hot work in Wales.

In Scotland, the Scottish FRS confirmed 180 fires in the construction industry had taken place in 2018/19, and an ‘overwhelming’ 143 of these – or 79% - ‘were the result of hot work’. Of these, 51 were caused by welding or cutting equipment, 22 by manufacturing equipment, and 23 by kilns ‘or other services’, with all the fires resulting in 21 casualties. Finally, Northern Ireland FRS confirmed ‘they do not hold information on fires in buildings under construction’.