A leading fire safety expert has warned insurers that huge commercial buildings in greenfield sites cannot be protected by the fire brigade in the event of a fire.

At a conference organised by Kingspan on fire safety last week Ian Gough, managing director of Ian Gough Associates, cited the example of Stobarts Daventry railfreight terminal in Northamptonshire.

Gough said the terminal, at a size of 19,000 square metres, is too big for a fire team to deal with in the event of a fire.

"It is a waste of time calling the fire brigade in such a situation. Fire teams are trained in how to deal with a two-up, two-down residential property," he said.

Gough added that companies had not considered how to deal with a crisis scenario.

"People don't realise how big these buildings are until someone like me points it out. Added to the size is the problem of access with fire crews often having to wait for the fire to come to them because they cannot gain access to fight the fire at source," he said .