Mark Whitehead 12 March 2019

Councils calls for tougher regulations around sprinklers in high-rise buildings

Local government leaders are calling for tougher rules governing the installation of sprinklers in high-rise buildings following last year's Grenfell tragedy.

The Local Government Association (LGA) says the height threshold at which automatic fire suppression systems are required in residential buildings should be lowered to 18 metres, down from the current 30-metre/10-storey limit.

It is also urging the Government to require automatic fire suppression systems to be installed in all new premises where vulnerable people sleep, including care homes and residential schools.

The LGA says existing proposals for a 30-metre threshold is too high given the practicalities of firefighting.

Cllr Ian Stephens, chair of the LGA’s fire services management committee, told the LGA’s annual fire conference in Brighton: '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.'

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