Chartered Institute of Building Magazine of the Chartered Institute of Building

News

Leading professional bodies call for sprinklers in schools

19 October 2020
Image: Dreamstime

The Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) is one of a number of professional bodies that have called for the government require the installation of sprinklers in schools.

The CIOB, together with the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC), Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), and Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), have all signed a joint statement calling for sprinklers in schools, including the retrofitting of sprinklers in existing school buildings when relevant refurbishment takes place.

The joint statement came ahead of Parliamentary scrutiny on the Building Safety Bill.

The statement reads: “As leading 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 in schools yet the science of fire knows no political or geographical boundaries. Fire safety of occupants and firefighters is of primary concern. Loss of schools in a community can have devastating effects. Recent research has evidenced the number of fires in schools and the benefits AFSS would bring.

“Achieving a more consistent approach to life safety and sprinkler installations in schools that draws on best practice from all the UK nations would provide clarity to the industry and help better protect the public and communities.

“We support the installation of AFSS in all new & converted school buildings of any height and retrofitting to existing buildings when refurbishment occurs as ‘consequential improvements’ where a building is subject to ‘material alterations’.”

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