01892 680 090
Residential & Domestic Fire Sprinklers - RAD Fire Spinklers Ltd.

Why Aren’t More Homes Protected By A Residential Fire Sprinkler System?

When a proven domestic safety measure, easily installed and widely available, also has the backing of industry professionals and campaign groups, it’s right to ask why every home doesn’t’ have one.  But is it really that simple?   Value, price, cost-efficiencies, economics and politics all play a role in explaining why legislation around residential fire sprinklers, hasn’t happened with the speed many would wish.

Value and risk in the eye of the stakeholder

One route to deciding if something merits our hard-earned cash, is to question whether outlay and outcome represent value for money.  But value is a subjective commodity and why some choose holidays over savings or a new car over refitting the kitchen.  ‘Value’, like ‘risk’ is fluid and firmly in the eye of the stakeholder.

A devastating occurance

The Price of Not Acting

December 14, 2017, marks six months since the fire at Grenfell Tower in London.   Predictably, the question of fire sprinkler use is again at the fore and it’s easy to see why.  Statistics show deaths in buildings protected by sprinkler systems to be a rare occurrence.   Yet, whilst developers, designers and landlords must conform to Fire Safety Regulations, the inclusion of sprinklers in all new-build domestic properties, is not compulsory.  Misconceptions around cost, aesthetics and conflicting opinion as to cost-efficiencies haven’t helped.

Cost-efficiencies

A number of studies have considered the ‘cost-efficiencies’ of fire sprinkler systems, and in reaching their conclusions, assigned varying values to a single human life.  And therein lies the problem, because whatever the demographic of a given ‘population’ – elements which studies factor into their findings – a supplier’s invoice, and loss of life do not share a common currency. A formulaic approach to deciding how we best protect people and in what circumstances, might aid financial decision making but when lives are lost, calculations lose their relevance.

The only reasonable premise is that everyone deserves the best possible protection from fire, and how, not whether that’s achievable. The answer, when it comes, will describe a mix of fire safety measures, and collaboration between government, fire safety professionals, designers ,developers, Housing asssociations and Landlords but it won’t be easy.

A Sense of Perspective

Let’s look at this on a smaller scale – the cost of installing fire sprinklers in a single dwelling, compared to something else with a definable monetary price tag, like carpets.

A mains-fed fire sprinkler system, and the carpets for a domestic property will cost about the same.  Sprinkler systems need annual maintenance, carpets require hoovering and cleaning.

Carpets provide warmth and comfort, fire sprinklers offer peace of mind and enhanced protection of lives, property and the environment.  Carpets suffer wear and tear, fire sprinklers correctly installed and maintained, last indefinitely.  Residential fire sprinkler systems save lives, carpets …

It’s not that carpets don’t matter – of course they do, along with everything else that makes a house a home – but it is worth looking at the reality of what sprinkler systems cost compared to other household items, and the value of what they offer in return.   In an ideal world, no homeowner or landlord will ever come to realise the absolute value of the fire protection measures they choose to install, but it’s fair to say that their assessment will differ before and after a fire.

‘Once is a Mistake, twice is a decision’

It’s unthinkable, in the aftermath of Grenfell, that government will not revisit and enhance legislation around fire safety measures, including retrofitting fire sprinkler systems to existing properties.

Inquests held in the wake of earlier fires – tragedies that should have served as a leveller between officials charged with mitigating risk and those who endured the consequences – made for painful reporting. In addition to their findings, Coroners issued recommendations, to which more attention should have been paid. If the past teaches us anything, it’s not to make the same mistake twice, or as one wise soul put it “once is a mistake, twice is a decision.”

Ripple Effect on the Economy

Compulsory fitting of residential fire sprinklers could increase construction costs, and impact supply, affordability and sale or rental values per unit, though some researchers firmly believe this would not be the case.  The Thames Gateway Report (specific to the Thames Gateway development) provides further reading and opinion on the subject.

What we do know is that increased demand for fire sprinkler systems, installation and maintenance work, would deliver a welcome boost to manufacturing, GDP, jobs and apprenticeships.

Government can expect fierce lobbying from all sides and will attempt a balance – measures that do not over-burden developers and landlords or reduce housing stocks and affordability.

The Bottom Line

More fire sprinklers might translate to less demands on Fire and other ‘blue light’ services, for which there will be a cost saving to government, but not upgrading safety legislation guarantees further loss of life in domestic fires, to which we cannot assign a value, only the minus sign in front of it.  So, the question remains, why doesn’t every home have one?

Continue Reading

BBC Drowns B-List Actors and Celebrities

Personally, I would rather gouge my own eyes out with a sharp stick than watch an episode of Eastenders however, apparently in yesterdays episode there was a trivial fire incident involving candles which triggered ALL the sprinkler heads within the large function area. They even featured a special sequence showing head after head activating! I have been involved in the residential fire sprinkler industry for many years and have been battling

Room showing an un-intrusive concealed sprinkler head in the ceiling

hard against the misconception that every fire sprinkler head in a building would activate in the event of a fire. This myth is just one more factor which has prevented people from accepting fire sprinklers with open arms. True to say that a tragedy like Grenfell Tower has finally raised the profile/acceptance of home fire sprinkler  systems marginally but it has been a very long hard battle against  misinformation from skeptics desperate to dismiss the possibility that such systems are highly effective at saving lives rather than flooding properties. All it takes is an uninformed script writer  and BBC producer within a highly influential company like the BBC to knock the industry back by years!  In this day and age, do intelligent script writers/producers still think that this scenario could happen? Or, has my previous 12 years proselytisation been in vain?

“I know” thought the script writer, “lets prevent people from burning to death in this episode by drowning them instead!”

” Great” said the the Producer – “let’s start with Dirty Den……….. what?  he’s not in it anymore?”

Now, I’m going to educate the BBC this time:

In fact each sprinkler head has a heat sensitive element., which triggers the devise closest to the heat and in 80% of cases will extinguish the fire. If one head doesn’t achieve this then an additional head or two will in virtually all cases .

DOH! – THEY DON’T ALL GO OFF TOGETHER?

 

 

Continue Reading

Great team, fitting sprinklers, saving lives & property... What more could you wish for!!!
Colin P
Colin P
17:53 01 Jul 17
Excellent company & great service... This company rocks! They sprinkle fires & save lives!!!
Music N Videoz
Music N Videoz
07:15 16 Dec 16
As somebody who feels that it should be a necessity for all properties to have fire sprinkler systems, I am a big fan of this company. I have used them numerous times to service my home system and they are very knowledgeable. I would highly recommend their service.
Kate Fraser
Kate Fraser
09:25 30 Mar 15
One look at Rad Fire Sprinkler's website will tell you that these guys know exactly what they are talking about when it comes to Fire Sprinklers and the legislation surrounding fire safety. A very trustworthy company.
Adam Hudson
Adam Hudson
16:45 15 Nov 13

Our Services Cover London & South East

Map

Map

Address

RAD Fire Sprinklers Ltd.
58A St John’s Road
Tunbridge Wells, TN4 9NY

Mon – Fri: 9AM – 6PM

Tel: 01892 680 090

Follow us

Facebook
Google+
Twitter
LINKEDIN

Newsletter

Contact Us

Feel free to enter your details below and we will email our PDF guide to you straight away.
  • Your details will not be shared with anyone outside RAD.
Paste your AdWords Remarketing code here