This week, we welcome a guest blogger, Curt Westrick, who is a senior risk engineering consultant with The Zurich Services Corporation. Here, he shares insight on what contractor clients should look for in a temporary heating system during the cold winter months.
As the leaves continue to change and the temperatures cool, it’s a reminder that winter is just around the corner. For many job sites, installation of temporary construction heaters will soon be necessary throughout colder regions. In preparation for the temporary heating season, one should consider both heater selection and maintenance.
As with anything in construction, securing the right tool for the job is of the utmost importance for contractors. Direct-fired turbo heaters can be very effective during the early stages of a project when combustible loading is low because they are efficient in open areas. However, as buildings get closed in and combustible loading increases, ventilation and fire hazards can start to become an issue. During wood frame construction, the fire risk is always present and some direct fired heaters, such as many top hat heaters, are not approved to be used on combustible flooring. In these cases, alternatives such as indirect fired (ducted) heaters, glycol radiant heaters and the like are usually implemented by contractors.
The appropriate selection of a temporary heating system can help reduce the maintenance tasks related to use of the temporary heat source. Although direct fired heaters are very efficient, there is a significant amount of maintenance to be considered. Heated areas should be kept clean of combustible items and loose debris that have the potential to be sucked into the heater intake and ignited. Keeping combustible storage cleared away from the heaters to maintain the heater clearance requirements can also be a challenge with a constantly evolving jobsite. Because of the consistently changing environment of a construction site, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) suggests visually inspecting temporary heating equipment every two hours while operating to verify combustible materials and debris are cleared from the area.
Whichever form of temporary heat is chosen for winter months, it should be safe and reliable, as the last thing anyone wants is to have to re-build what has just been constructed due to a fire or burst water pipe.
Protecting your clients' projects doesn't end when the heaters leave the job site. Throughout the year, clients' projects are in need of comprehensive protection from risk exposures, and failing to mention coverages that may be needed can leave your agency vulnerable to Errors & Omissions claims. Learn useful steps to help you avoid common mistakes when securing builders risk coverage when you read Avoid Costly E&O Mistakes: Identifying Builders Risk Exposures.
For more information on temporary heat fire safety, get to know NFPA 241 Standard for Safeguarding Construction, Alteration, and Demolition Operations.
About the Guest Blogger
Curt Westrick is a Senior Risk Engineering Consultant with The Zurich Services Corporation specializing in loss prevention for builders risk, erection all risk, and contractors all risk policy holders. Curt is also a member of the NFPA 241 Technical Committee on the Standard for Safeguarding Construction, Alteration and Demolition Operations.
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