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Are sprinklers required to be installed in blocks of flats?

A sprinkler system is one of the tools available to prevent the spread of fire in tall buildings. The Statutory Guidance in England meant that only buildings taller than 30 metres and constructed since 2007 were recommended to have sprinklers fitted and existing high-rise buildings in England must have them fitted if a fundamental change is made to the structure or use of the building.

Currently, there is no requirement for existing buildings (that is, those built before 2007) to fit sprinklers.

In May 2020, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities published amendments to the Statutory Guidance in Approved Document B (fire safety) volume 1 to state that sprinkler systems should be fitted throughout blocks of flats with a top storey more than 11m above ground level. In the majority of cases, therefore, sprinkler protection will be necessary in any newly formed accommodation that falls above the new 11m trigger height.

The changes are:

  1. Sprinkler systems in accordance with BS 9251 (or BS EN 12845 for residential blocks of flats outside of the scope of BS 9251) should be fitted throughout blocks of flats with a top storey more than 11m above ground level. BS 9251 is the British Standard for fire sprinklers, which covers (amongst others):

Further detailed information can be found here

More information you might find useful:

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