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Calls for sprinklers in new homes above 11m

12 March 2019 | By CM staff

Image: Dreamstime

Sprinklers should be installed in all new and converted residential buildings, hotels, hospitals, student accommodation, schools and care home buildings of 11m in height or above.

That’s the joint call made by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) to government in a signed statement today.

The joint statement comes ahead of a Westminster Hall Debate on fire safety and sprinkler systems scheduled for today.

In the statement, RIBA, RICS and CIOB said: “As leading chartered professional bodies in the built environment, we believe further action is required to improve the fire safety of buildings in the UK.

"Lives, stock and property are saved by the use of Automatic Fire Suppression Systems (AFSS), which includes sprinklers. At present, England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland differ in their requirements on sprinklers yet the science of fire knows no political or geographical boundaries.

“Harmonising building regulations across the nation states of the UK regarding the installation of sprinklers would provide clarity to the industry and help protect the public.

“We support the installation of sprinklers in all new & converted residential buildings, hotels, hospitals, student accommodation, schools and care home buildings 11m or above in height, and retrofitting to existing buildings when refurbishment occurs as ‘consequential improvements’ where a building is subject to 'material alterations’. We also support the installation of AFSS including sprinklers below this height on a case by case basis of risk. 

“Each of the professional bodies will bring forward guidance for our own professionals in line with this statement in the absence of government legislation.”

Paul Nash, past president of the CIOB and chair of the Past President’s Quality Commission, said: “The need for harmonisation across the regulatory framework in the UK is essential. CIOB through its work on quality and in support of the Hackitt recommendations fully endorses this statement.”

All three organisations have made detailed responses to the issue of fire safety in the built environment following the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017. For more information on CIOB’s response and its work to support better quality in the built environment, click here. For more on RIBA’s response, click here. And for more on RICS’ response, click here.

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