New NFPA tip sheet offers timely information on demobilizing buildings under construction, alteration or demolition during government-required shutdowns

April 16, 2020 – NFPA has developed a new tip sheet to help building owners, authorities having jurisdictions (AHJs), installer/maintainers, facility managers, and contractors safely prepare and execute demobilization efforts in buildings under construction, alteration or demolition in the wake of COVID-19. The new at-a-glance-guidance is designed to help parties implement the appropriate steps to safeguard sites and comply with local requirements that are in effect now and could possibly apply during future emergencies.

The new resource draws on the best practices found in NFPA 241, Standard for Safeguarding Construction, Alteration and Demolition Operations. While NFPA 241 is not specifically intended for demobilization efforts, the standard provides time-tested benchmarks that the building and enforcement communities will find useful as they strive to keep construction sites safer during any phase of work. In particular, the new tip sheet centers around three critical questions:

  1. What existing conditions are currently onsite?
  2. What key requirements should be considered?
  3. How do these buildings properly resume operations when cleared to do so?

The tip sheet lists existing conditions found on job sites; the questions that should be asked and answered; the sections in NFPA 241 where answers can be found; and other pertinent information. It emphasizes the importance of developing a Fire Safety Program and highlights the following key areas that need to be addressed by the property owner:

  • Good housekeeping
  • Onsite security
  • Fire protection systems
  • Rapid communication
  • Protection of existing structures
  • Fire Protection Devices
  • Inspections
  • Impairments

Construction/alteration/demolition can resume once building and fire officials have given the word but there may be other AHJs that need to be considered for the project including, but not limited to, specific federal, state, and local authorities, as well as certain insurance providers. Sharing of pertinent information with all relevant parties should be established and continued for the duration of the project.

“Keeping construction sites safe requires a collaborative and accountable process from start to finish,” said Kevin Carr, senior fire protection specialist at NFPA. “Code officials must understand and enforce the requirements in NFPA 241; building owners or their representatives must establish a Fire Safety Program, and contractors performing work on buildings under construction must follow that safety program completely to reduce risk during times of crisis and in ordinary times.”

NFPA also has relevant resources designed to keep you informed about important fire, building, and life safety guidance during this pandemic period. NFPA codes and standards are also available for free online access.

For this release and other announcements about NFPA initiatives, research, and resources, please visit the NFPA press room.

As we navigate the evolving situation with COVID-19, we remain committed to supporting you with the resources you need to minimize risk and help prevent loss, injuries, and death from fire, electrical, and other hazards.
About the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)

Founded in 1896, NFPA is a global self-funded nonprofit organization devoted to eliminating death, injury, property and economic loss due to fire, electrical and related hazards. The association delivers information and knowledge through more than 300 consensus codes and standards, research, training, education, outreach and advocacy; and by partnering with others who share an interest in furthering the NFPA mission. For more information, visit www.nfpa.org. All NFPA codes and standards can be viewed online for free at www.nfpa.org/freeaccess.