Londoners want sprinklers in flats
04 March 2019
TWO-THIRDS (66%) of Londoners say they would feel unsafe living in a high rise block of flats that didn’t have sprinklers a new YouGov poll shows.
A Government consultation on building regulations that could force builders to fit sprinklers in more buildings. (Approved document B). We're asking everyone to contact your local MP and ask what they’re doing to change the law on sprinklers to make people and buildings safer in England.
We want the law to make sprinklers mandatory in:
• All purpose built blocks of flats (or all blocks over six storeys at the very least)
• All homes where vulnerable people live
• All buildings housing vulnerable residents such as a care homes or sheltered accommodation
The YouGov poll also found that 94% of people support the our call for the stronger regulation on sprinklers.
London fire commissioner Dany Cotton said, “This is a once in a generation opportunity to change the law on sprinklers and we need the public to contact their local MP and ask them to change the law.
“I am angry that our calls on sprinklers has been consistently ignored and you should be too. Please ask your local MP how of many of their constituents are being denied essential fire safety equipment in their homes.
“It’s clear that the building industry can’t regulate itself and that the public are sick of taking the hit on sprinklers. It is the most vulnerable people in our society who most benefit from sprinklers and it is completely wrong that they are taking the hit when developers don’t include them in their homes”
Worse still, a recent audit we carried out showed housing developers are consistently ignoring firefighter advice on fitting sprinklers. A spot check of purpose built flats built or refurbished in 2016 found only two out of the 15 blocks spot checked had sprinklers fitted.
Although we're telling developers that sprinklers will save lives, in most cases we can’t force developers to fit them and it’s very difficult to follow up on whether our life saving advice was incorporated into the build.
Currently in England, sprinklers are only a legal requirement in new residential blocks over 30 metres tall. In Wales, sprinklers are a legal requirement in all new domestic premises (including houses). In Scotland, residential buildings including care homes, sheltered housing, schools and high rises taller than 18 metres require sprinklers and the Scottish Government has recently introduced new measures that will go even further.
The Brigade is a statutory consultee on building regulations for every building subject to the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 –often know as the 'Fire Safety Order'. However, Fire and Rescue services cannot insist that sprinklers are included in buildings where there is no current legal requirement. Last year, as part of this consultation process the Brigade has strongly recommended the use of sprinklers in over 3,000 buildings including care homes, schools, flats and maisonettes.