Decking manufacturer AliDeck publishes UK Balcony Fires Report 2020-2021
08 November 2021
LAST YEAR, Rochester-based balcony components manufacturer AliDeck made an important contribution to the national debate on fire safety in high-rise buildings with the publication of its Balcony Fires Report 2017-2020.
Collating data from UK Fire and Rescue Services on the prevalence and causes of balcony fires across the country, the report contained some shocking statistics. At least 873 fires on balconies were recorded nationally across the period, with almost half of them caused by smoking materials such as carelessly discarded cigarettes.
With the ongoing cladding crisis and difficulties caused by the EWS-1 Forms scheme causing chaos in the social housing sector, the fire safety of balconies is a key issue and, indeed, a major part of the problems that leaseholders and building owners are facing.
AliDeck has now published the Balcony Fires Report 2020-2021, with new data gathered from Freedom of Information requests directed towards Fire and Rescue Services around the UK on how many fires involving balconies occurred between 1 August 2020 and 31 July this year.
Once again, the results are genuinely shocking. A total of at least 213 fires on balconies were recorded nationally in just one year, with almost half of them again being caused by smoking materials. London alone saw 150 balcony fires, 78 of which were smoking related and 15 of them caused by the “reckless use” of barbecues.
These stark revelations underline the urgent need to remove combustible materials and replace them with non-combustible alternatives in order to minimise the risk of catastrophic fires starting on or being spread by balconies.
Richard Izzard, managing director at AliDeck, informed Fire Safety Matters: “We have been beating this drum for a long time now. Specifically, that construction materials on balconies must be non-combustible, not only to achieve compliance with regulations and Government building safety advice, but also to help protect against the risk of major fires.”
Izzard continued: “Last year’s Balcony Fires Report highlighted the human factor in the majority of balcony fires and that trend is repeated in this new data. Changing human behaviour to ramp up fire safety should certainly be a goal to work towards, but the reality is that the surest route to fire-safe balconies is to use non-combustible materials such as aluminium decking.”
*The Balcony Fires Report 2020-2021 is available to view on the AliDeck website at https://www.alideck.co.uk/balcony-firesreport/balcony-fires-report-2020-2021/