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Building Regulations – We’re now compulsory
Building Regulations announce the biggest change in a generation - Fire Suppression Systems such as sprinklers and water mist systems are now compulsory!
15 April 2020

Following the Grenfell tragedy, the Government is making fire suppression systems compulsory!

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said the plan along with further reforms to the building safety system represented the biggest changes in a generation.

This new fire safety programme comes a month after Rishi Sunak announced £1bn to remove all types of dangerous cladding with the new Building Safety Fund: (CLICK HERE & READ ANNOUNCEMENT)

Building regulations in Approved Document B will be updated in May to reduce the trigger height for sprinklers.

All resi buildings above six storeys will now be covered by new regulator, while buildings above 11m will need fire suppression measures installed such as water mist systems.

A new government fire safety regime for residential buildings will cover all buildings above six storeys.

The move goes further than first floated by Government, which initially suggested changing the 30m height rule to 18m.

Pro’s & Con’s

Sprinklers vs Water Mist Systems

To support the new measures, an independent construction expert, David Hancock, has also now been appointed to review the progress of removing unsafe ACM claddings from buildings, amid growing frustration about the slow pace of the replacement programme nearly three years after the Grenfell disaster.

Reforms being introduced in the Building Safety Bill include new powers to prosecute firms that fail to comply with stricter requirements.

Construction products such as cladding materials will also face greater scrutiny under the new regime.

Mr Jenrick said he understood the impact of coronavirus had made it a “difficult time” for construction firms, but insisted the removal of dangerous cladding was a “top priority” as he urged work to continue.

Responding to the announcement, Lord Porter, the Local Government Association’s building safety spokesman, urged ministers to go further and fund retrofitting of sprinklers or water mist systems in existing tower blocks, commenting.

“The Government’s announcement that the remediation of cladding remains a top priority is positive news, and industry and duty-holders now need to step up and deliver the work required…

Residents of existing blocks deserve the same safety standards as those in new buildings, and the Government should fund the retrofitting of sprinklers in existing blocks of flats once the current crisis is over.”