Liverpool Arena Car Park to be Rebuilt with Sprinklers

On 31 December 2017 a fire in the Liverpool Arena Car Park destroyed 1,300 cars and damaged the structure so badly it has to be demolished. A planning application has been submitted by the council for a new, larger, 1,650 space car park. It will be protected with a sprinkler system.

Scotland to Require Sprinklers in All New Social Housing

The Scottish Government has announced that it will take forward a legislative proposal law by David Stewart, Member of the Scottish Parliament, to require sprinklers in all new social housing. There is a lot of social housing in Scotland, most of it is low-rise or mid-rise.

The Scottish Government will also consult on requiring sprinklers in existing care homes and houses of multiple occupation.

The EFSN would like to recognise the efforts of Keith MacGillivray and Danny Doherty, as well as the British Automatic Fire Sprinkler Association and several of its members, who between them have spent many years in patient discussions with politicians and officials to reach this point.

Click here for the full announcement.

FSI 2018 a Huge Success!

Well over 300 delegates attended Fire Sprinkler International 2018 in Stockholm on 13-14 June. Almost 50 speakers, in three parallel sessions, covered a wide range of topics. The conference had the largest exhibition ever, with 50 stands showing the latest innovations in fire sprinkler, water mist and foam extinguishing technology.

On the 14th 190 delegates and their partners ended the conference in grand style with a gala dinner at Stockholm City Hall, the location for the Nobel Prizewinning ceremony.

Our next conference will be in Madrid on 27th March 2019 and in 2020 Fire Sprinkler International will return in The Netherlands.

Hackitt Review Published

On 17 May the long-awaited report of the review of England’s Building Regulations and fire safety was published. The review was commissioned by the British government in response to the Grenfell Tower disaster.

Chaired by Dame Judith Hackitt, her team’s report concentrates on the regulatory process of supervision during design, construction and occupation. Despite calls from many bodies and experts, it does not recommend any changes in fire safety measures in buildings. Its recommendations would assign personal responsibility for fire safety over the different stages in the life cycle of a building and introduce formal sign-off at each.

The scope of her recommendations only extends to high-rise residential buildings of more than 10 storeys. Given that it applies to new and existing buildings, most of its impact would be on the more than 2,000 existing such buildings, rather than the 30-50 that are built each year. As yet the British government has not formally responded to her report but early indications are that it will go further and extend the scope to more buildings. The day before the report was published the government announced it would provide up to £400 million for the replacement of combustible insulation and cladding on social housing. In a debate, many Members of Parliament also called for sprinklers to be fitted in new apartment buildings. Since 2007 sprinklers have been required in new apartment buildings in England but only if they are higher than 30m, which is typically 10 storeys.

While Dame Judith has not proposed any changes to the fire safety measures required in buildings, she does recommend that the regulatory guidance should be reviewed at least every five years. It has not been revised since 2006.

As part of the recommended new regulatory arrangements, there would be a requirement to reduce the risk from fire to a level as low as reasonably possible. It is not clear what the implications of the ALARP approach would be but potentially ALARP would identify sprinklers as a measure that should be applied in many buildings.

Meanwhile local councils have announced they will retrofit 1,000 buildings, not all of them higher than 10 storeys. Cornwall has become the first council in England to announce it will fit sprinklers in all new social housing, joining several councils in Scotland. The EFSN has also heard that a number of housebuilders are now fitting sprinklers in all new apartment buildings.

The Hackitt report is an important milestone in repairing England’s fire safety regulations, which were shown to be so awfully to be deficient on 14 June 2017. The public enquiry and police investigation will probably highlight the need for further changes.

Sprinkler Article in La Vanguardia

La Vanguardia, the Spanish newspaper, has an article about the benefits of sprinklers today, 14 May. EFSN member Tecnifuego-Aespi is quoted in the article. Read more

EFSN Co-Signatory to Letter to British Prime Minister

The EFSN is a signatory to a letter to Theresa May calling on her to implement three straightforward measures to the fire safety measures in high-rise and high-risk buildings: sprinklers, non-combustible insulation and alternative escape routes. The full text of the letter is here. The first signatory is George Clarke, an architect who presents “Amazing Spaces”, a well-known television programme.

We find it extraordinary that almost a year after the Grenfell Tower fire, the government has yet to propose any changes to the fire safety measures in buildings. These three measures are easy to understand and verify; together they would dramatically improve fire safety.

Most British People Want Sprinklers in High Rise and High Risk Buildings

According to a poll conducted on behalf of Rockwool, a company that makes non-combustible insulation, 86% of British adults support the fitting of sprinklers in existing buildings, and 88% in new buildings. The story was taken up by Inside Housing, which is campaigning for sprinklers to be retrofitted in high-rise housing.

Norwegian sprinkler market hits new record in 2017

Brannteknisk Forening, the Norwegian fire association, has published record statistics for the numbers of sprinklers and water mist nozzles installed in Norway in 2017. The total sprinkler market grew by over 10,000 sprinklers to 709,500. Of these, 186,432 were residential sprinklers, making up 26% of the total.

Water mist also grew, with 26,005 nozzles installed, up by 2,578. Of these 19,725 or 76% were residential water mist nozzles. In Norway, water mist now accounts for 4% of the water-based building fire protection systems market.

London Assembly report calls for sprinklers

A report published by the London Assembly has called for sprinklers to be fitted in all new apartment buildings higher than 18m and over time to become required in all new housing. It also calls for sprinklers to be retrofitted in higher risk buildings in London and for £50 million to be made available for this work.

The London Assembly is made up of 25 elected politicians. Its role is to hold the Mayor to account. The Mayor should respond to Assembly motions and formal recommendations. Read the full report here

Record sprinkler market in Sweden

Sprinklerfrämjandet, the Swedish sprinkler association, has published figures for the numbers of sprinklers installed in Sweden in 2017. 633,060 sprinklers were installed, of which 35,000 were residential sprinklers. This is an increase of 17% on 2016 and is the first time the market has exceeded 600,000 sprinklers. The market has steadily grown and is now six times as large as in the early 1980s.

The EFSN is working closely with Sprinklerfrämjandet to host Fire Sprinkler International 2018, a two-day international conference which will be held in Stockholm on 13-14 June. With a booming national market, this will be a great time to be in Stockholm!