Apr 2017

Builder’s Risk Property Loss Prevention Surveys

There are significant property loss prevention hazards that occur during the construction of a building. The challenge is having active manual or automatic protection and detection available as soon as possible. In most cases automatic sprinkler protection is not activated until the project is close to or nearing completion.

The first step in conducting a builder’s risk property loss prevention survey is to meet with the Project Manager, Superintendent of the Project, Architect and Engineering Firm. Find out their safety guidelines during construction. At the initial meeting phase you should also receive a site progression schedule that will show the approximate start and completion dates for the following:

  • Site Mobilization
  • Demolition
  • Excavation
  • Site Utilities
  • Footing / Foundations
  • Underground Plumbing & Electric
  • Structural Steel
  • Slab Work
  • Masonry
  • Roofing
  • Exterior Walls
  • Interior Work

The greatest loss exposure during construction is fire. Protection is critical. Detailed information should be provided on the following:

  • Fire Department
    • Volunteer or Paid? Have they been to the construction site?
    • What is the distance to the nearest fire station?
    • Is access to site maintained for the fire department at all times?
    • Is the local fire department familiar with the site and scope of the project?
    • Are there communications available in all areas with the telephone number of the fire department?
  • What is the distance the site is to nearest operating public fire hydrant?
    • Are there fire hoses on site and readily available that can reach all areas from the fire hydrant?
  • What is the availability of private hydrant & hoses?
  • What is the availability of working standpipes?
  • What is the timing of the activation of the detection system?
  • What is the timing of the activation of the automatic sprinkler protection?
  • Has adequate portable fire extinguishers been provided?
  • Are functional standpipes and hoses being installed as areas of buildings are completed?
  • Are temporary offices, workmen’s sheds, storage buildings at least 50 feet from buildings under construction or important equipment?
  • Are cutting and welding operations supervised with a permit system?
  • Is portable heating equipment listed or approved?
  • Is all trash and scrap hauled away from the site daily?
  • Is temporary electrical wiring kept to a minimum and installed in accordance with the National Electric Code (NFPA 70)?
  • Is smoking restricted?

When providing a COPE report for your customer, Construction is the first major component. Details of the type of construction should be provided on the following items:

  • Floors
  • Walls
  • Roof
  • Foundation
  • Filled Land
  • Pilings
  • Total area in square feet per floor
  • Number of stories
  • Finished Floor Elevations (FFE) – needed for flood evaluations

Site management is also a critical component of preventing losses during construction. Some items to make note of include:

  • Are the architect, general contractor and subcontractor stable, reliable and experienced in the hazards of this type construction?
  • Is the construction in compliance with Federal, State and Building Codes IBC, Fire Codes (IFC), NFPA and FM Global standards?
  • Has one individual been designated to oversee and monitor all loss control and security measures?

Another critical aspect of a builders risk survey is the site security which can prevent vandalism and arson. The following items are important to maintaining a safe site:

  • Has fencing been provided around the site with only personnel and vehicle openings?
  • Are the fence openings monitored during the day and locked at night?
  • Have identification procedures been established to control access and travel of personnel, vehicles and materials?
  • Has exterior and interior lighting of the site been provided?
  • Are there recorded hourly watchman rounds during idle periods?
  • Is the job site fenced and secured?

If the site is located in an area subject to severe windstorm, a plan should be put in place. An example of a plan can be found in http://www.risklogic.com/articles/jul2005.html
Additional precautions are needed such as:

  • Is steel and masonry work secured and properly braced at the end of each work day?
  • Are masonry walls completed immediately after the permanent structural members are erected to provide adequate lateral stability?
  • Are concrete forms firmly held in place?
  • Are vapor barriers, insulation and roofing materials permanently attached to the roof deck as they are applied?
  • Are construction materials, tarpaulins and equipment including cranes or temporary enclosures fastened securely?

A flood zone determination should be provided and the nearest body of water located. The project site elevation (FFE) above maximum flood waters for the 100 year and 500 year flood should be determined. The past flood history of the region and average annual rainfall in the region should be identified. If the site is located in an area subject to flooding a plan should be put in place. An example of a plan can be found in http://www.risklogic.com/articles/may2008.html

These are just some items that can help in a Builder’s Risk Property Loss Prevention survey. Please contact Risk Logic as we provide this service for our customers.