LGA calls for ‘tougher’ sprinkler regulations in high rises

LGA calls for ‘tougher’ sprinkler regulations in high rises

THE LOCAL Government Association (LGA) has called for tougher regulations relating to sprinkler installation in high rise buildings.

LocalGov reported on the LGA statement, which said that the height threshold ‘at which automatic fire suppression systems are required in residential buildings’ should be lowered to 18m, down from the current 30m or 10 storey limit. It also urged the government to ‘require’ automatic suppression systems to be installed in ‘all new premises where vulnerable people sleep’, such as care homes and residential schools.

On the existing proposals for a 30m threshold, the LGA stated that this was ‘too high given the practicalities of firefighting’, and chair of its fire services management committee Ian Stephens commented at the LGA’s annual fire conference: ‘Residents have a right to be safe and to feel safe in their homes and automatic fire suppression systems, which can include sprinklers, offer a strong reassurance that is urgently needed following the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

‘The cost benefit case for them in new high-rise tower blocks and care homes has been made and retrofitting needs to be considered in existing buildings as part of a holistic approach to fire safety. Sprinklers alone are not a universal panacea and installation should be proportionate and risk based.

‘Nevertheless, the investment required may impact heavily in some areas with large numbers of tower blocks, which is why we are calling on government to provide funding for this work as it has for the remediation of flammable cladding.’

Yesterday a debate was held at Westminster Hall over sprinklers, with the National Fire Chiefs Council among the organisations calling for regulation changes.