The fire last July destroyed two part-built north London timber frame apartment blocks.

Building ran pictures showing the fire progressing under the headline “Burned to the ground in nine minutes – what this fire means for the future of timber frame”.

The London Fire Brigade (LFB) investigation has not been released, but the magazine said it had spoken “exclusively” to it about “what happened and the dangers inherent in multi-storey timber-frame sites”.

It also quoted Arup fire engineer Peter Bressington as saying: “If there’s a fire in a steel or concrete building, it wouldn’t be an issue… in a timber framed building you lose the lot”.

UKTFA chief executive Bryan Woodley is meeting the LFB and Health & Safety Executive on December 14. “Once we have the facts we’ll make recommendations,” he said. “The incident raises issues for all of the building industry on site safety. We should work together with masonry and steel building sectors and stop the knocking copy.”

The UKTFA provides advice on fire safety and protection on timber frame sites and is about to publish a new guide for “pre-contract fire insurance risk assessment procedure”. It is also urging the Fire Protection Association to publish an updated version of its “Fire Protection on Construction Sites” leaflet.

Mr Bressington told TTJ he was not anti-timber frame and said Building had “truncated” his comment.

“My concern is that builders used to other methods are not adapting to timber frame,” he said. “It’s a case of looking at the schedule; putting in fire protection earlier for instance. I don’t think there’s a need for code changes.”

He suggested the severity of the fire could be linked to the fact that the frame of the first building to ignite was completed in February, but left exposed.

  • In the 8 December edition of Building, the magazine has an update on the Colindale fire referring to the “publication of the London Fire Brigade’s initial findings” on the incident. The Fire Brigade denied that it has published anything on the blaze, however, and a spokesperson said that it would ask Building to print a correction.