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Debate rages over fire safety in timber-framed tower blocks

More active management needed to keep things safe
Fire safety in timber-framed tower
blocks still a topic of debate

The risk posed by timber-built towers has been highlighted by new statistics from the Department of Communities and Local Government, which show fires in such structures have a greater average spread than those in traditionally built houses.

Recent tower block fires have ignited debate into the safety of flats which feature a central timber frame, an increasingly popular method of constructing social housing, reports the Guardian.

According to the timber frame industry, combustible cavities surrounded by fireproof walls make such structures safe, but experts point out that even small changes made by residents could compromise the integrity of the buildings.

"There are dangers in a design if it assumes that the people who live in it are perfect," Ian Cox, head of the Royal Berkshire Fire & Rescue Service, is quoted by the newspaper as saying.

"With a building like this you need more active management to keep things safe. We are not against this type of building if it is done properly. But we think we need more testing."

Recent incidents include a blaze at the Madingley block in Kingston-upon-Thames on July 12th.

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