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New NFPA Tip Sheet Offers Timely Information on Demobilizing Buildings Under Construction During Government-required Shutdowns

NFPA has developed a new tip sheet to help building owners, authorities having jurisdictions (AHJs), installer/maintainers, facility managers, and contractors safely prepare and execute demobilization efforts in buildings under construction, alteration or demolition in the wake of COVID-19. The new at-a-glance-guidance is designed to help parties implement the appropriate steps to safeguard sites and comply with local requirements that are in effect now and could possibly apply during future emergencies.
The new resource draws on the best practices found in NFPA 241, Standard for Safeguarding Construction, Alteration and Demolition Operations. While NFPA 241 is not specifically intended for demobilization efforts, the standard provides time-tested benchmarks that the building and enforcement communities will find useful as they strive to keep construction sites safer during any phase of work. In particular, the new tip sheet centers around three critical questions:
  1. What existing conditions are currently onsite?
  2. What key requirements should be considered?
  3. How do these buildings properly resume operations when cleared to do so?
The tip sheet lists existing conditions found on job sites; the questions that should be asked and answered; the sections in NFPA 241 where answers can be found; and other pertinent information. It emphasizes the importance of developing a Fire Safety Program and highlights the following key areas that need to be addressed by the property owner:
  • Good housekeeping
  • Onsite security
  • Fire protection systems
  • Rapid communication
  • Protection of existing structures
Typically, the building owner will designate a representative known as the Fire Prevention Program Manager (FPPM) to successfully carry out the Fire Safety Program with special attention given to:
  • Fire Protection Devices
  • Inspections
  • Impairments
Construction/alteration/demolition can resume once building and fire officials have given the word but there may be other AHJs that need to be considered for the project including, but not limited to, specific federal, state, and local authorities, as well as certain insurance providers. Sharing of pertinent information with all relevant parties should be established and continued for the duration of the project.
“Keeping construction sites safe requires a collaborative and accountable process from start to finish,” said Kevin Carr, senior fire protection specialist at NFPA. “Code officials must understand and enforce the requirements in NFPA 241; building owners or their representatives must establish a Fire Safety Program, and contractors performing work on buildings under construction must follow that safety program completely to reduce risk during times of crisis and in ordinary times.”
NFPA also has generated relevant resources in recent weeks to provide important safety guidance during this pandemic period. As always, NFPA codes and standards are available for free online access.
As we navigate the evolving situation with COVID-19, we remain committed to supporting you with the resources you need to minimize risk and help prevent loss, injuries, and death from fire, electrical, and other hazards.
For more information, visit www.nfpa.org. All NFPA codes and standards can be viewed online for free at www.nfpa.org/freeaccess.

Contact FacilitiesNet Editorial Staff »   posted on: 4/30/2020

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