Sprinklers needed for fire safety

It is calling for the height threshold at which automatic fire suppression systems, such as sprinklers, are required in new residential buildings in England to be lowered to 18 metres – down from the current 30-metre or 10-storey limit.

It is also urging the Government to require that such systems are installed in all new premises where vulnerable people sleep, including care homes and residential schools.

The LGA is further calling for the same standards to be applied to existing buildings.

Under the proposals put forward by Dame Judith Hackitt last year, owners of existing tower blocks more than 30 metres high will have to satisfy regulators that residents are safe.

But the LGA believes the 30-metre threshold is too high, given the practicalities of firefighting, and that the ‘safety satisfaction test’ should also be extended to cover buildings in which vulnerable people sleep.

With councils facing an £8 billion funding gap by 2025, the LGA is urging government to use its Spending Review to give resources to any council experiencing financial difficulty in meeting retrospective obligations to fulfil these safety proposals, as it has done in respect of remedial work for social housing blocks with flammable cladding.

Cllr Ian Stephens, Chair of the LGA’s Fire Services Management Committee, said: “Residents have a right to be safe and to feel safe in their homes. Automatic fire suppression systems, which can include sprinklers, offer a strong reassurance that is urgently needed following the Grenfell Tower tragedy.”

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