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Sprinklers are not a luxury

The London Fire Brigade (LFB) is calling for a change in the law to require sprinklers to be fitted as standard as part of fire safety measures in all residential developments over 18m in height. 


Current regulations, (including HTM 05-02) do not require sprinklers to be fitted in buildings under 30m in height. As the government consults on building regulations, LFB wants the government to look urgently at new regulations to cover new builds and existing premises. 


It wants to see the height limit moved to 18m, which would include retrofitting to existing blocks subject to a risk-based approach that should include consideration of the vulnerability of the residents. Although hospitals are not mentioned specifically, the LFB does reference residential care homes, sheltered accommodation and homes occupied by the most vulnerable in our communities.


Simon Rooks, Operations Director of Johnson Controls and Council Member of the British Automatic Fire Sprinkler Association (BASFSA) says: “The London Fire Brigade’s call for mandatory sprinklers in new high-rise buildings, irrespective of height, is yet another plea for action on fire safety. Industry bodies, building owners, and occupiers have been calling for vast improvements to fire safety regulations ever since the Grenfell Tower tragedy. Fitting sprinkler systems in old and new buildings needs to be a priority – sprinklers aren’t simply an add-on, but a life-saving essential.


“Regulations already exist to ensure sprinklers are installed in new tower blocks taller than 30 metres. But ensuring that sprinklers are installed shouldn’t be dependent on building height or whether a building is old or new. We urgently need a solution that ensures sprinkler systems become an integral component in fire safety systems across the country, both residential and commercial.”