BAFSA, the British Automatic Fire Sprinkler Association Ltd is delighted to report that the London Assembly has launched a powerful and comprehensive report calling for the mandatory installation sprinklers in all new homes in England.
London Assembly Report
In the opening statement of this proposal, Navin Shah, Chair of the London Assembly, stated “We pay our respects to all those who have died in fires in their place of residency and those who’ve been affected. Our thoughts are particularly with the families and loved ones of all those who died and suffered following the Grenfell Tower block fire.”
He added, “It is crucial that we use the outrage and the lessons of this fire to ensure that every Londoner is better protected from fire in their homes. That is why I led this review on behalf of the Planning Committee to look at whether sprinklers should be made mandatory in London’s homes.”
Importance of fire sprinklers
Sprinklers are a reliable and cost-effective fire safety measure that can greatly reduce risk of death and injury
The evidence clearly suggests that sprinklers can provide an additional layer of fire safety before the London Fire Brigade arrives at the scene. The Commissioner of the London Fire Brigade, Danielle Amara Cotton told the London Assembly, “As a measure as part of a range of options in making buildings safe [sprinklers] are key going forward.”
Sprinklers are a reliable and cost-effective fire safety measure that can greatly reduce risk of death, injury, property damage and harm to local communities. In the long term the evidence also strongly points towards making sprinklers mandatory in all residential buildings as has been the case in Wales since 2016.
Retrofitting sprinklers in buildings
But, it is also important to be pragmatic and accept that given the magnitude of the task, it is not feasible to make sprinklers immediately mandatory in all buildings in England. Retrofitting sprinklers in buildings over 30 meters high or 10 storys tall in London alone could cost up to £500 million and the relatively small sprinkler industry would be overwhelmed due to the issues of capacity.
As such, the London Assembly is calling for a risk-based, phased, ‘road map’ towards making sprinklers mandatory in all homes in England. So, the assembly recommended that the Building Regulations should require all new residential buildings over 18 meters high or 6 storys tall, new care homes and sheltered housing be fitted with sprinklers immediately.
The London Assembly also called on the UK Government to require sprinklers to be retrofitted in every existing tall building, care home and sheltered housing block during refurbishment work.