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Control measure

Identify the presence of lightweight or fragile building features

Control measure knowledge

False chimneys 

As false chimneys are difficult to recognise, investigation is required to determine whether they are a structural or decorative feature of the building. Information can be gathered from: 

  • Examining a similar building 
  • Speaking with residents 
  • There being an absence of an internal chimney stack 

False chimneys are not suitable as an anchor for working at height as they may not be able to support any additional weight. 


Non-structural glazing can be used as a non-load bearing wall, or as an external architectural feature façade. 

It may be necessary to identify alternative access routes to avoid areas of glazing that have been affected by heat. If there is a height hazard and the glazing has failed, personnel should implement working at height procedures at nearby internal locations. 

Ladders should not be pitched onto external glazing; alternative means of access may have to be used, such as aerial appliances. 

Strategic actions

Fire and rescue services should:
  • Consider providing suitable equipment to prevent personnel from using lightweight or fragile building features as anchors or means of access

Tactical actions

Incident commanders should:
  • Identify the presence of a false chimney

  • Avoid using false chimneys to physically support any firefighting activity

  • Identify the presence of non-structural glazing

  • Avoid pitching ladders onto non-structural glazing