July 8, 2020

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Fire protection

New sprinkler threshold welcomed by Bureau Veritas

Bureau Veritas has pledged its full support to the Government’s recent introduction of a new 11m threshold for sprinklers – asserting it marks a vital step forward in the journey towards enhanced fire safety regulation. IFSEC Global Editor James Moore reports.

Sprinklers in schoolsOn 26 May 2020 the UK government released the inaugural phase of its Fire Safety Approved Document Work Plan; the important implementation plan based on Hackitt report recommendations designed to create a new regulatory framework for building safety.

You can read an in-depth report on the proposals, here.

As part of this, the Government announced updates to the Building Regulation in Approved Document B whereby the current trigger height for sprinklers in new residential flats will be replaced from 30m (typically 10 floors) to just 11m (typically four floors). This significant reform means that any new flat developments with a floor at the new threshold will be required to be fitted with a sprinkler or alternative fire suppression system.

Importantly, the requirement, which comes into effect on 26th November 2020, will only apply to projects lodged before this time and that have not started ahead of the official cut-off date of 29 January 2021.

Alongside this, the Government also recently announced the new requirement for wayfinding signage in flat developments in stairs and lobbies to assist firefighting operations. Looking ahead, further regulatory reforms are expected to follow later in the year to include the consideration of Evacuation Alert Systems and potentially the introduction of a new 11m height requirement for firefighting shafts, as opposed to the current 18m.

Andy Lowe, Technical and Training Director for Bureau Veritas Building Control, comments: “Following an ongoing consultation period, we are in full support of the government’s decision to considerably lower the threshold height for the provision of sprinklers in new flat complexes, while also including the provision of storey identification signage in staircases to assist wayfinding for firefighters.

“While these may seem relatively simple changes, they are incredibly important ones which will go a long way in helping ensure that residents are safer in their homes and that more adequate preventative measures are in place should an incident occur.”

The article was originally published on IFSEC Global.

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Paul Bussey
Paul Bussey
3 years ago

Even though the new sprinkler threshold will be in the ADB this is not mandatory under current arrangements and can be”fire engineered” out unless made a Statutory Building Regulation requirement.