Mandatory sprinklers not the only answer, says RIBA

Latest News Mon, Dec 2, 2019 8:49 AM

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has responded to the consultation on sprinklers and other fire safety measures in new high-rise blocks of flats, published by the Ministry of Housing, Community and Local Government (MHCLG).

The RIBA recommends:

  • Sprinklers (or automatic fire suppression systems) should be required in new and converted residential buildings, regardless of height; and existing multiple occupancy residential buildings as ‘consequential improvements’ when a building is subject to ‘material alterations’.
  • Sprinklers should not be used as means to compensate for other essential life safety measures or justify reducing minimum standards.
  • Centrally addressable fire alarm systems should be required in new and converted multiple occupancy residential buildings; and multiple occupancy residential buildings as ‘consequential improvements’ when a building is subject to ‘material alterations’.

Photo: GMFRS

Jane Duncan, Chair of the RIBA Expert Advisory Group for Fire Safety, said:“It is over two years since the Grenfell Tower tragedy, yet far too little has changed. England’s regulations lag shamefully behind other countries such as Wales (where sprinklers have been required in all new and converted residential buildings since 2013) and Scotland (where sprinklers will soon be required in all multiple occupancy residential buildings).

"The next government must urgently and radically overhaul the building regulations to prevent more disasters and keep the public safe.”

Read the RIBA’s full consultation response here.

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