The London Fire Brigade has slammed housing developers for “consistently ignoring” its advice on fitting sprinklers.

The Brigade says that every year, it informs thousands of London developers that sprinklers are a crucial recommendation for their planned build, but that a recent audit of purpose built flats constructed or refurbished in 2016 found only two out of the 15 blocks spot checked had sprinklers fitted.

As a result, the Brigade is campaigning for a change in law to ensure that sprinklers are a core part of fire safety measures.

The call comes as the Government consults on building regulations in Approved document B that include a crucial section on sprinklers and other fire suppression systems.

Currently in England, sprinklers are only a legal requirement in new residential blocks over 30 metres tall. In Wales, sprinklers are a legal requirement in all new domestic premises (including houses). In Scotland, residential buildings including care homes, sheltered housing, schools and high rises taller than 18 metres require sprinklers and the Scottish Government has committed to go even further.

In particular the Brigade says it is calling for sprinklers to be fitted in:

  • all purpose-built blocks of flats (or all blocks over six storeys at the very least)

  • all homes where vulnerable people live

  • all buildings housing vulnerable residents, such as a care homes or sheltered accommodation.

The Brigade has published a position statement on sprinklers and is also urging the public to contact their MPs to urge action on sprinklers.

Commenting on the issue, London Fire Brigade Commissioner Dany Cotton said, “To ignore Brigade fire safety advice is reckless and the Government needs to act now to stop that happening. Developers should be required to include sprinklers in more buildings and especially in purpose built residential blocks and homes of the vulnerable”.

Last reviewed 28 February 2019