Renovation & Construction

If you are planning to build a new home or renovate your current residence, follow these simple and potentially life-saving tips that can help you avoid any construction-related losses:

  • Keep a sufficient number of portable fire extinguishers distributed throughout the worksite. A home under construction is particularly vulnerable to fire. Having several fire extinguishers close at hand can help prevent a small fire from causing major damage. We recommend multipurpose models (Type ABC) of at least 10 pounds in weight. The extinguishers should be situated on each level of your home and well marked for quick access.
  • If you are renovating your home, never disconnect your fire or burglar alarms. When floors are being sanded or plaster work is being performed, a great deal of dust can be produced, possibly triggering your alarm components. Rather than turning off your smoke detectors, have them covered with plastic bags or manufactured tops that can be removed at night, when fires often occur.
  • If you are constructing a new home, plan in advance for the installation of fire and burglar alarms. To provide protection, a temporary system can be installed as soon as the house is enclosed. Only a telephone line and temporary power source are needed to give you centrally monitored protection. This will provide automatic notification to the proper authorities of a fire or break-in after workers have left.
  • Consider installing a residential sprinkler system. If installed during the early stages of construction, a sprinkler system is an affordable way to provide protection against a major fire, as it may pay for itself over time in the form of premium reduction credits.
  • Take steps to keep unwanted visitors away from the construction site. Vacant construction sites can attract unwanted attention and increase the chance of theft and vandalism. Motion-activated lighting, perimeter fencing, gates or chains across driveways and security guards are examples of ways you can protect your home while it is vacant.
  • Clean up every day. Many commonly used construction materials are highly combustible. Make sure scrap lumber, sawdust, cardboard containers and other debris are removed daily. Also, ask painters to remove all rags and solvents at the end of each day, as they are highly flammable and can start a fire if left unattended.
  • Talk to your insurance agent or broker about future premium credits. Taking steps to better protect your home may significantly lower the cost of your homeowner’s policy once construction is complete. In many instances, the premium savings generated from home-protection devices can offset the cost of the devices in just a few years.

Safety Checklist

We encourage you to discuss these safety points with your contractor:

  • Are fire extinguishers located on all levels of the house?
  • Have you planned for fire detection/alarms?
  • Is the worksite secured when the workers aren't there?
  • Is the worksite always left clean?
  • Do you know if blowtorches or combustible materials will be used, and if so, who will be responsible for them?
  • Is your neighborhood protected by a public fire hydrant? If not, look into other steps to provide water in the event of a fire?
  • Have you considered the installation of a residential sprinkler system?
  • Are emergency numbers (fire department, police department, ambulance) handy and in a visible spot?

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