Fire Safety in Construction HSG168

HSE has published a revised version of the publication Fire safety in construction (HSG168).

This latest (third) edition contains guidance explaining the need to eliminate, and or mitigate fire risks during the design phase (where practicable), how to prevent site fires from starting and ensuring people’s safety if they do.

It is aimed at all those involved with construction projects who procure, design, develop and manage construction sites, including clients and designers.

It should help you achieve good fire safety management and compliance with The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015. The law states all persons with duties under the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 must contribute to good fire risk management and legal compliance

A competent person (with the skills, knowledge and experience in fire risk assessments on construction sites), such as a fire engineer or competent Fire Risk Assessor, should be engaged to provide specialist advice for complex and/or high-risk projects. Such projects are likely to need specialist advice beyond the scope of this guidance.

The following factors could indicate a complex site:

  • high-rise building over 18 m tall (or seven storeys or more). The term ‘storey’ is defined in the relevant Building Regulations
  • large timber-frame development;
  • old or historic building with hidden voids;
  • interconnected buildings;
  • a large-scale or multi-storey refurbishment project;
  • sites that are partially occupied or will be occupied as part of a phased release;
  • use of novel construction methods or materials;
  • multiple underground levels; and/or
  • complex fire arrangements in the final design.


The above factors are only an indicator of complexity; each site needs to be assessed individually. Sites that are not considered complex may be considered high-risk; for example, sites where there are significant storage risks from combustible materials or flammable gases.

View the publication Fire safety in construction 

HSE’s website has further fire-related information on:

  • Construction fire safety
  • Work process fire safety