The London Fire Brigade commissioner has called for sprinklers to be installed in all existing tower blocks, saying the Grenfell Tower fire ‘should be a turning point’
Commissioner Dany Cotton, who was at the scene of the blaze, told the BBC that retrofitting fire sprinkler systems in residential towers should be one of the recommendations of the Grenfell Tower inquiry.
‘Grenfell should be a turning point,’ she said. ‘I support retrofitting; for me where you can save one life then it’s worth doing.
‘This can’t be optional, it can’t be a “nice to have”, this is something that must happen. If that isn’t one of the recommendations [of the inquiry] then I will be so very disappointed.’
The June blaze in the west London tower block, which had recently been refurbished by Studio E Architects, claimed at least 80 lives.
In England, the Building Regulations state that sprinkler systems need to be installed in new-build blocks of flats more than 30m in height. However, this rule does not apply retroactively, or for the refurbishment of tower buildings built before this regulation was introduced.
The rules in England are less stringent than those in Scotland, where sprinklers must be installed in new-build blocks of flats above 18m in height, and in Wales where sprinklers are required in all new-build homes.
The BBC’s Freedom of Information-led investigation looked at around half of the UK’s tower blocks owned by councils and housing associations. It was revealed that only two per cent had full sprinkler systems.
The AJ has contacted the Department of Communities and Local Government for comment.
In June, Croydon Council said it would install sprinkler systems in its 25 tallest tower blocks following the Grenfell Tower fire.
Yesterday [12 September], the government published its call for evidence for the independent review of the Building Regulations, including those covering fire safety.