Government reduces building height requirement for sprinklers

6 September 2019 | By Neil Gerrard

Robert Jenrick

The government has unveiled plans to reduce the building height for when sprinklers are required from the current 30m (around 10 storeys) and above, to 18m (six storeys).

The proposals came as the government also announced the creation of a new Protection Board with the Home Office and National Fire Chiefs Council to provide tailored building checks and inspections, if necessary, on all high-risk residential buildings in England by 2021.

The Board will operate until the new building safety regulator, proposed by the government in its response to the Hackitt Review, is established to oversee the new regulatory regime for buildings and legislation on a new building safety regime.

It will aim to ensure building owners are acting on the latest safety advice, keeping residents updated and that interim measures are in place in all buildings with unsafe aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding.

As of 12 September, the government is also opening the application process for a £200m fund to accelerate the pace of the removal and replacement of unsafe ACM cladding from privately-owned buildings.

Housing secretary Robert Jenrick said: “Residents’ safety is our utmost priority and we are making vital improvements to ensure buildings are safe.

“I have listened to concerns on sprinklers from residents and building owners and our proposals are an important step forward in shaping the future building safety standards."

Following the launch of the £200m cladding replacement fund, he added: “There is no excuse for further delay – and for building owners to fail to take action now would be frankly disgraceful.”

The 12-week fire safety consultation on sprinklers and other measures, running until 28 November, forms part of the first proposed changes to Building Regulations in England covering fire safety within and around buildings, after the government issued a call for evidence on the technical review of Approved Document B of the Building Regulations in December 2018.

It also seeks views to introduce an emergency evacuation alert system for use by fire and rescue services, alongside other fire safety measures.

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