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Ministry of Housing consults on lowering sprinkler threshold | BUILDING MAGAZINE

Ministry of Housing consults on lowering sprinkler threshold

The Ministry of Housing has gone out to conultation on a proposal to make fire sprinklers mandatory for all new buildings above 18 metres high.

The 12 week consultation on sprinklers also seeks views to introduce an emergency evacuation alert system for use by fire and rescue services, alongside other fire safety measures.

Currently only tower blocks that are 30 metres or higher (approximately 10 floors) are required to have sprinklers. Introducing a new 18 metre requirement would bring six-storey blocks (and higher) into the legislation.

In a related post-Grenfell initiave, a new Protection Board is being set-up immediately with the Home Office and National Fire Chiefs Council to help reassure residents of high-risk residential blocks that any risks are identified and acted upon.

The new Protection Board will get ‘up to’ £10m a year, the government said, to support its work, which includes checking all high-risk residential buildings in England by 2021.

The Board will operate until the proposed new building safety regulator is established to oversee the new regulatory regime for buildings and legislation on a new building safety regime is introduced. As of 12th September, the government is opening the application process for a previosly- announced £200m fund to accelerate the pace of the removal and replacement of unsafe aluminium composit material (ACM) cladding from privately-owned buildings.

Secretary of state for housing Robert Jenrick said: “I have listened to concerns on sprinklers from residents and building owners and our proposals are an important step forward in shaping the future building safety standards.

“The new Protection Board will make sure building owners don’t flout the rules, as well as ensuring fire safety risks in other buildings are being addressed”.

The sprinkler consultation runs from 5th September until 28th November 2019. Further details and how to respond, can be found at hhtps://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/sprinklers-and-other-fire-safety-measures-in-new-high-rise-blocks-of-flats