Following the news that the London Fire Brigade has called for all purpose-built residential blocks to have sprinklers installed, Simon Rooks, operations director at Johnson Controls and council member of the British Automatic Fire Sprinkler Association (BASFSA), comments on how the government and building managers can act quickly for change post-Grenfell:
“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.
“The government should offer clear guidance and financial support to local councils and building owners. Retro-fitting sprinklers in existing high-rises, or incorporating sprinklers into the design stage of new-builds, is cost effective, practical, and urgently needed. Building managers and specifiers need to find the right supplier now to ensure the safety of their residents – and legislators need to take action today to save lives.”