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RIBA makes final plea to put sprinklers in all new homes

burned interior of flat which presumably didnt have sprinkler shutterstock

The RIBA has issued a final plea to the government to make sprinklers mandatory in all new homes

The government has said its preferred change to fire safety regulations would reduce the trigger height for sprinklers in high-rise flats from 30m to 18m.

It is proposing to ‘fast-track’ the policy change, with a far-reaching overhaul of building regulations to come after further years of gathering evidence.

But in response to the consultation which closed yesterday (28 November), the RIBA told the government that neither the scope of the proposed changes nor the speed of its actions to date were good enough.

The institute also called again for the government to insist that sprinklers should be fitted to all new and residential buildings, regardless of height.

RIBA Expert Advisory Group for Fire Safety chair Jane Duncan said: ‘It is over two years since the Grenfell Tower tragedy, yet far too little has changed.

‘The next government must urgently and radically overhaul the building regulations to prevent more disasters and keep the public safe.’

Duncan, a former RIBA president, added: ‘England’s regulations lag shamefully behind other countries such as Wales (where sprinklers have been required in all new and converted residential buildings since 2013) and Scotland (where sprinklers will soon be required in all multiple-occupancy residential buildings).’

The RIBA also said there should be a legal requirement to fit sprinklers and centrally addressable fire alarm systems to all multi-occupancy buildings when they are subject to ‘material alteration’.


Readers' comments (2)

  • RIBA and government should go further. ALL multifamily housing and places of gathering (schools, hospitals, theatres, etc) should be sprinklered. It works well in California and saves lives. If California can afford it, then the UK should definitely consider making this mandatory.

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  • Domestic sprinklers installed by a reputable firm such as Staysafe can cost under £2k for a small flat or around £5k for a small house. Having seen film of how a domestic fire can reach 400 degrees flashpoint in just 5 minutes, it seems to me like a no-brainer to make sprinklers mandatory to secure people’s safety. Thank you Jane / RIBA for you persistence with this initiative.

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