Following on from our post two weeks ago, Churches Fire and Security is taking an in depth look at the newly amended Statutory Guidance in relation to building height and sprinkler systems.
The regulation change comes into effect on the day of publication (26 November 2020), and states that all blocks of flats with a top floor more than 11m above ground level should be built with sprinkler systems in place. Previously this had been set at 30m, and the fact sprinkler systems were not mandatory came in for heavy criticism.
A report by the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government found that 97% of respondents to their research agreed that the height threshold for sprinkler provision in new blocks of flats should be reduced. The report also concluded that ‘There was a clear view that sprinklers provide life safety benefits’, and explained that the ‘strength of support’ for lowering the building height threshold meant that the initial proposal to lower the threshold to 18m was reduced by a further 7m.
The final implementation statement of the report advised “The change in guidance will come into force on 26 November 2020 and will apply to any buildings undertaking building works unless the building works have started on site or an initial notice, building notice or full plans has been deposited by 26 November 2020 and work has started on site by 29 January 2021.”
NEW RESEARCH INTO FIRES IN EDUCATION SETTINGS
Further to our previous post in relation to sprinkler systems in education settings, it emerged recently from research by Zurich, that 40 schools a month were affected by fires in the previous year. This impacted on the education of almost 20,000 children. The schools in question were 271 primary schools, and 209 secondary schools, of which only 2% had a sprinkler system in place. The findings have led Zurich to launch a parliamentary petition to urge the government to change the law on sprinkler systems in schools.
“As insurers, we work closely with schools to help them manage their fire risks but a simple solution such as the installation of sprinklers could minimise the dangers from the outset, avoiding months or even years of upheaval. As well as protecting pupils, sprinklers drastically reduce the extent of damage when there is a blaze, often confining the fire to a single room.”
Tilden Watson - The Head of Education at Zurich Municipal
With more and more scrutiny being placed on fire safety in the education sector with research such as that by Zurich, it seems likely that there will be a change in building regulations for schools, just like those for new flat blocks.
As a member of the UK’s leading professional trade association for the fire sprinkler industry (British Automatic Fire Sprinkler Association – BAFSA), Churches Fire & Security customers can be certain that all sprinkler systems are installed to the best possible standard.
In excess of 85% of all sprinkler systems in the United Kingdom are installed by BAFSA members, and we are proud to be one of them. This means that Churches Fire & Security has access to the best technical advisors and the most up to date training. Our association with BAFSA means all Churches customers can be confident that we are experts in installing and maintaining sprinkler systems.
Sources: gov.uk, ifsecglobal.com
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December 11, 2020
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