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During 2020/21, there were 11,916 fires in non-residential buildings in the UK. Commercial buildings are full of potential hazards, so it’s important to know what can cause a fire in this environment. 
In this article we’ll cover the most common causes of fire in commercial buildings and how to make sure your building is protected from them. 

What are The Top 5 Causes of Fire in a Commercial Property? 

So what are the biggest fire hazards in a non-residential building? Here are the five most common causes of fire: 

1. Faulty Electrical Equipment 

Faulty electronics, including loose wires or defective equipment, are the first big cause of non-residential fires. If the electrics in your building aren’t up to scratch they can overheat, cause sparks and catch fire that can quickly engulf the whole building. 
Regularly inspecting and replacing damaged equipment is absolutely essential to minimise the danger of an electrical fire. 

2. Improperly Stored Combustables 

Easily combustible materials such as wood, paper or cardboard are found in all commercial buildings and normally don’t pose much risk. However, when you allow too many combustibles to accumulate in your building, it can act as fuel for a potential fire. 
To reduce the risk of fire expanding through your building, we recommend ensuring that any combustible materials are either stored off-site in secure containers or disposed of regularly. If you have no other option, but to keep combustible materials onsite, it’s important that the room they’re stored in is protected with sufficient firestopping equipment. 

3. Clutter 

Another common cause of fire in many non-residential buildings, particularly offices, is untidy and cluttered areas. If a building isn’t cleaned on the regular , then build up of dust and grease can be a potential fire hazard, particularly in areas with poor ventilation. 
Similarly, dust that builds up on different equipment can cause it to overheat and set on fire. To mitigate those risks, it’s important to carry out regular inspections and clean all equipment and surfaces thoroughly. 

4. Arson 

Arson is another cause that makes up for a large proportion of non-residential fires. Installing surveillance equipment such as CCTV and motion sensors, as well as limiting access to the property to authorised personnel only, can help reduce the risk of arson. 
Additionally, having operational fire safety equipment and passive fire protection throughout the building will help limit the damage. Fire doors, fire boarding and structural steel fire protection are a few of the elements of passive fire protection that can protect your building, should you fall victim to a targeted arson attack. 

5. Human Error 

Commercial buildings are occupied and visited by so many people on a daily basis that errors are a common occurrence that can lead to a fire. Incorrectly used equipment, faulty machinery that is left running or even food left unattended while cooking, all of those are common human errors that can lead to a fire in a commercial property. 
To prevent such errors from happening, it’s essential to give your staff proper fire safety training and follow the correct procedures, should a fire occur. 

How to Prevent Fire at Your Site? 

The most efficient way to protect your building from the destructive effects of fire is having sufficient fire stopping. Passive fire protection is a mandatory requirement in all buildings and something that should never be overlooked. 
Your building should be divided into self-contained compartments to minimise the spread of fire. This is done through fire doors, fireproof coatings, smoke and cavity barriers and other similar methods. 

Make Sure Your Building is Safe with GRJ! 

Want to protect your building and the lives of its occupants? GRJ can help! 
We inspect, install and maintain passive fire protection systems in non-residential properties all over the country. Our specialists can carry out a survey of your existing system, create a report with recommendations and carry out any remedial work that is necessary. 
Speak with our team today and find out how we can help keep your property safe. 


For more information about our services, please fill in the form below and a member of our team will be in touch. 
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GRJ Contracting Ltd was established in 2007 with the purpose of specialising in the design, supply, and installation of quality passive fire protection systems for the commercial and residential UK construction market. As an accredited company certified with IFC, ASFP, ISO 9001 and Cyber Essentials based in the Midlands, we operate nationwide on new build and legacy construction projects of all scales and our range of services includes Intumescent Coatings and Rigid Boarding systems for Structural Steelwork protection, Service Penetration Firestopping, Mineral Fibre Boarding systems for internal building fire compartmentation and more. 
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