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callow mount

Callow Mount Residential Fire Sprinklers

Callow Mount (Sheffield) Pilot Project 2011

For some time, fire safety professionals (individuals and industry organisations) have maintained that automatic residential fire sprinkler systems are amenable to retrofitting in existing developments, particularly high-rise residential tower blocks. Alternative viewpoints have contested that notion, noting worries about economic and practical practicality, but a pilot project to retrofit residential fire sprinklers in Callow Mount, a multi-story block of flats in Sheffield, proved the reality of what can be accomplished in 2011.

The Sprinkler Coordination Group (SCG)-sponsored Callow Mount pilot project, which was partially funded and directed by the British Automatic Fire Sprinkler Association (BAFSA), saw the successful retrofit of residential fire sprinklers to a 1960s, thirteen-story tower block that provided sheltered housing.

The project was completed on time and within budget (the entire retrofit was completed in just four weeks – 30 August to 28 September), confirming the opinion of the sponsor (SCG) and founder/director (BAFSA) that third-party projections presented to the governing bodies had unhelpfully overestimated the costs of retrofitting. The final “bill” for the Callow Mount upgrade was received with astonishment.

The British Automatic Fire Sprinkler Association (BAFSA) reported identified true and full costs for retrofitting fire sprinklers to Callow Mount at that time as:

  • Total cost – £55,134
  • Cost per flat – £1,148


And maintenance and full life cost as:

  • £250 per annum (2011 prices)
  • Lifetime costs based on the above over a 30-year period c. £60,000
  • This equates to £40 – £50 per flat/per year

For instance, the cost of repairing a fire-damaged single-occupancy flat in a nearby complex had reached £13,000.

On many counts, the Callow Mount pilot project in Sheffield was a success. In addition to avoiding any budgetary or time overruns, the whole refit (46 one-bedroom and one two-bedroom flat plus the non-residential ground floor space) was finished while the building was still inhabited; not a single tenant had to be relocated during the work.

Lakanal House Fire – 3 July 2009

lakanal house fire

Lakanal House

Six people were killed in a fire in the Lakanal House tower block in Camberwell, London, on July 3, 2009. The event sparked a flurry of criticism and controversy in the media.

The investigation into the Lakanal House fire lasted ten weeks. The jury discovered that multiple opportunities to conduct building safety checks were overlooked.

Following the conclusion of the investigation, the Coroner, Judge Frances Kirkham, emailed the then Communities Secretary, Sir Eric Pickles, Southwark, and the London Fire Brigade with several suggestions, including that landlords install fire sprinkler systems in their properties.

Wise After the Event 

It’s easy to be wise after the event but when tragedy strikes and suggestions emerge as to how it might have been averted, analysis rightly follows.

The Role of Residential Fire Sprinkler Systems in High-Rise Buildings

In an ideal world, residential fire sprinklers in high-rise buildings would be included throughout the design process, but as the 2011 Callow Mount pilot project showed, retrofitting can be a feasible option when properly scoped, cost, and implemented.

The fire at Lakanal House raises numerous questions, not just about the incident itself – how it originated and spread – but also about fire safety laws and procedures in high-rise residential tower blocks around the world.

As national and local government bodies are questioned about what role, if any, financial considerations played in the original design, construction, maintenance, and refurbishment of tower blocks destroyed or damaged by fire, and where retrofitting residential fire sprinklers could have been an option, the issue of ‘cost’ will frequently arise.

Research sources: theguardian.com, bbc.co.uk and bre.co.uk.
Check out another one of our ongoing projects here.

Mist system was a great solution for our renovation needs and them team at RAD have been great. Always communicated clearly and been on hand to discuss over the phone as needed. Would highly recommend!
09:32 17 Jul 22
I have used RAD for a couple of projects and found them to be good to deal with. They did a pair of 3 storey open plan houses and seven three and four story town houses. The sprinklers were to improve fire safety, allow more flexible space and comply with building regulations. The sprinklers were far more cost effective than the mist type systems and look very discrete when installed.
Paul Jeary
15:50 11 Jul 22
It has been a pleasure to deal with RAD for installation of fire sprinklers at our site is Sevenoaks. They were fast, professional, working to time and quote, which made it easy to work with them.
Katrina Horobin
12:03 29 Jun 22
My requirement was a bit unusual for RAD in that I wanted a mist system in one room of a rented house. I had no drawings or technical back up. RAD were very helpful and repositioned the unit after the initial installation. Luckily with the help of Sonny, the engineer it all worked out very well.
Simon Gurney
16:16 12 May 22
I have used RAD for the last 10 years for all of my housing developments in need of a sprinkler system. Easy process from start to finish and no issues or problems throughout. Always someone at hand to answer a querie and we have a great working relationship with the team at RAD. Would highly recommend.
15:33 12 May 22
Diligent & a very professional team. A joy to deal with. Will certainly be calling on them to help with many more future schemes.
Jason Tema
22:17 08 Jul 19
Great team, fitting sprinklers, saving lives & property... What more could you wish for!!!
Colin P
17:53 01 Jul 17
Excellent company & great service... This company rocks! They sprinkle fires & save lives!!!
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
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
16:45 15 Nov 13

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58A St John’s Road
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