Call for Sprinkler Systems

Sprinkler systems

Our call for compulsory sprinkler systems in high rise social housing has featured on the Inside Housing magazine website.

In the wake of the verdict at the end of last month on the deaths of six people in the Lakanal tower block blaze in Southwark, south London in July 2009, we have called for legal changes that would make it compulsory to install sprinkler systems in high rise social housing blocks.

We have written to communities secretary Eric Pickles, housing minister Mark Prisk and the heads of every Fire Service in the UK, endorsing the recommendations of Judge Frances Kirkham, warning that if they are ignored more lives will be put at risk.

We are also calling for urgent action from local authorities and landlords to identify possible deadly breaches of compartmentation - the construction technique aimed at allowing a fire to be contained in the flat of origin for up to an hour. Evidence shows there has not been a single fatality in any high rise building in the world that has installed a working system.

Extract from our letter, prepared by Brian Gregory (Managing Director):

'What the Lakanal House inquest has highlighted are major failings in the way high-rise fire safety is being addressed across the UK today. We not only need to learn the lessons of this terrible tragedy, we need to act on the findings of the coroner immediately to prevent more loss of life. We believe sprinklers do and will save lives. They can be retro-fitted at a reasonable cost, they should be installed in every new high-rise building constructed in the UK and it should be a matter of law. '

We are also backing the coroner's call for the Communities and Local Government department to provide clear guidance on fire risk assessments. In addition, we believe that fire risk assessment should include inspections of individual flats in high-rises to identify possible deadly breaches of compartmentation.

Article featured on Inside Housing website...

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