Rochester-based balcony components manufacturer AliDeck made an important contribution last year to the national debate on fire safety in high-rise buildings with the publication of the Balcony Fires Report 2017 to 2020.
Collating data from UK Fire and Rescue Services on the prevalence and causes of balcony fires across the country, the report was shocking; 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 EWS1 scheme causing chaos in the housing sector, the fire safety of balconies is a key issue and is a major part of the problems that leaseholders and building owners are facing, both nationally and throughout Kent.
AliDeck have now published the Balcony Fires Report 2021 – 2021, with new data gathered via Freedom Of Information Act requests from Fire & Rescue Services around the UK on how many fires involving balconies occurred between 1st August 2020 and 31st July 2021.
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 were caused by the reckless use of barbecues.
These stark revelations underline the urgent need to remove combustible materials and replace with non-combustible alternatives to minimise the risk of catastrophic fires starting on or being spread by balconies.
Richard Izzard, AliDeck managing director, said “We have been beating this drum for a long time now, that construction materials on balconies must be non-combustible; not only to achieve compliance with regulations and Government building safety advice but to help protect against the risk of major fires.”
“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,” continued Richard. “Changing human behaviour to achieve 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 at the AliDeck website: https://www.alideck.co.uk/balcony-fires-report/balcony-fires-report-2020-2021/