Jane Duncan, Chair of the RIBA Expert Advisory Group on Fire Safety, said:
“I’m pleased that the government has finally listened to calls from residents, building owners and industry and will now consider a requirement for sprinklers and other fire safety measures in new high-rise homes.
The RIBA has consistently argued that government must prioritise the requirement for sprinklers in all new and converted residential buildings and has highlighted the importance of retro-fitting sprinklers in all existing residential buildings above 18m. We’ve also been clear however, that sprinklers should not be used as means to compensate other key fire safety measures.
This consultation is a step in the right direction, in the context where fire safety regulations in England lag behind other countries, including Wales and the USA, and changes are long overdue. Over two years on from the Grenfell tragedy, we continue to press the government to take the steps urgently needed to ensure that current and future homes are safe.”
Notes to editors:
1. For further press information contact Emily.Stallard@riba.org +44 (0) 20 7307 3813
2. The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) is a global professional membership body that serves its members and society in order to deliver better buildings and places, stronger communities and a sustainable environment. Follow @RIBA on Twitter for regular updates
3. The RIBA Expert Group on Fire Safety set out key recommendations to Government for baseline prescriptive requirements
Sprinklers – a requirement for sprinklers/automatic fire suppression systems in all new and converted residential buildings (as already required in Wales) and in all existing multiple occupancy residential buildings above 18m from ground level as ‘consequential improvements’ where a building is subject to 'material alterations'. Sprinklers should not be used as means to compensate other key fire safety measures.
Alternative means of escape – in all new multiple occupancy residential buildings, a requirement for at least two stairways, offering alternative means of escape, where the top floor is more than 11m above ground level or the top floor is more than three storeys above the ground level storey (as required for commercial buildings).
Centrally addressable fire alarms – a requirement for centrally addressable fire alarm systems in all new and converted multiple occupancy residential buildings and in all existing multiple occupancy residential buildings above 18m from ground level as ‘consequential improvements’ where a building is subject to 'material alterations'.