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Sprinkler systems debated at CABE Built Environment Ireland Conference

23 October 2023

THE BUSINESS Sprinkler Alliance used the recent Chartered Association of Building Engineers (CABE) Built Environment Conference Ireland, which ran in County Roscommon, as a platform upon which to promote further awareness around sprinkler systems.

Following the theme of ‘Performance, Compliance and Safety’, CABE’s Built Environment Ireland Conference was held at the Hodson Bay Hotel in Athlone. Attracting expert panels of speakers interacting with a wide range of construction professionals including building engineers, building certifiers and fire engineers, this technical leadership conference featured content specifically related to the Irish regulatory landscape.

The keynote address delivered by Sarah Neary, principal advisor at the Building Standards Advisory Unit, shared insights on the direction of travel in Ireland. This highlighted common concerns, including sustainability, quality and the need for more housing.

Tom Roche, secretary of the Business Sprinkler Alliance, stated: “Ireland has faced its own challenges with building quality and devised and introduced measures to address them. At the same time, the nation faces similar challenges and changes to those that we are seeing in England and Scotland. It’s no surprise to note that there are ongoing consultations on fire safety guidance in both Northern and Southern Ireland.”

Sustainability role

At the busy event, representatives from the Business Sprinkler Alliance met with building control officers, building engineers and Government officials alike. The technical conference afforded the organisation the ideal platform on which to discuss the benefits of sprinklers for protecting people and their property, and also how active fire protection can play a role in sustainability.

It’s clear that sprinklers have a role as the regulatory guidance evolves. There’s great use of sprinklers within the market in Ireland. This can be seen in the consultations that have taken place and those currently running in Northern Ireland.

These consultations see Northern Ireland regulatory guidance aligning with England when considering materials on residential buildings over 18 metres tall and sprinklers in residential buildings over 11 metres in height.

In the Republic of Ireland, the guidance changes will approach the use of sprinklers in multi-storey residential buildings as a measure to offset open plan living and internal arrangements. More importantly, they clearly signal a change for warehousing to define it as a high-risk environment attracting sprinklers at much lower compartment sizes.

Key strategic element

Tom Roche concluded: “What’s clear is that sprinklers are becoming a key part of fire strategy thinking within these countries as they seek to meet the challenges of what’s now an ever-evolving built environment.”

The Business Sprinkler Alliance advocates greater business resilience by enhancing protection against fire through the increased acceptance and use of fire sprinklers in commercial and industrial premises.

*For more information on the work of the Business Sprinkler Alliance visit www.business-sprinkler-alliance.org