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fire protection system historic buildings

What Type of Fire Protection System Do Historic and Listed Buildings Have?

fire protection system historic buildings

Though at RAD Fire Sprinklers, we advocate the installation of fire sprinkler systems in all buildings, sometimes it is much more complicated. There are certain historic buildings that officials do not want to modify, due to conserving their structure. More commonly, listed buildings also celebrate the history and architectural interest across the UK. However, this also means that there are certain modifications, such as a fire protection system, that cannot affect the building’s structure.

Find out more about the inclusion of sprinkler systems in listed buildings and their importance.


But, first. What do we mean by “listed buildings”? 

    • Grade I – of exceptional interest (2.5%), e.g. Royal Albert Hall, York Minster
  • Grade II* – of particular interest (5.8%), e.g. Coliseum Theatre, Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral 
  • Grade II – of special interest (91.7%), e.g. Abbey Road Studios, BT Tower

Notre-Dame de Paris

Though not in the UK, the Notre-Dame is one of the most iconic landmarks in Europe and attracts a variety of tourists. In 2019, a tragic fire broke out near the spire and spread quickly, due to the wooden beams that support the roof. Expected to be completed by 2024, certain architects state that the reconstruction could in actuality, be completed between 20 and 40 years. Due to the size of the new structure. 


However, could this have been avoided with s fire protection system in place? Previously, officials that represent the cathedral decided not to introduce firewalls and sprinkler systems. This was because they feared the wiring would be a risk to the timber surrounding. Yet, sprinkler system experts have stated that this fire protection system could have extinguished the fire and stopped the flames from spreading. 


Jean-Michel Leniaud, a historical expert, stated: “The lack of fire security allowed the fire to spread quickly. If there were sprinklers everywhere it might have been different, but there weren’t.” 

Wet Pipe Fire Protection Systems

Although there are many other sprinkler system types, it is widely accepted that wet pipe systems should be installed within heritage buildings. This is because they are the most straightforward, easiest to operate and cost-effective. 


Strict adherence to design standards over the years has led to the dependability of these systems. It is important for owners of listed buildings to consider a number of factors. For example, if there was a fire, which areas pose the biggest threats? 


In these cases, sprinkler heads can be implemented throughout areas that have flammable materials, which can easily spread the flames. The use of a fire protection system has its advantages. Doors, for example, if kept cold by being sprayed with water, can offer a higher level of fire protection. 


Sprinkler heads that are strategically placed can help preserve a building’s original structure and maintenance of original fittings. Additionally, a sprinkler system can help compensate for a building’s inability to withstand fire. In certain circumstances, installing sprinklers is necessary to preserve the original design and function of a historic structure. And overall, its historical significance. 

What About Modernisation?

Some experts argue that adding sprinkler systems into these buildings may modernise the structure and makes it lose its historical impact. Adding a sprinkler system may cause some disruption, as the pipes will need to be fitted and installed in at-risk locations. However, what if a fire did break out? Without these fire protection systems in place, the building’s historical impact will massively decrease if it’s burnt down. 


Sprinkler installation companies will ensure to preserve the building’s architectural integrity with minimal intrusion. With new technology, such as concealed pendent sprinkler heads, they can also now have a low profile and not bring attention to themselves.

RAD Fire Sprinklers

Here at RAD, we design and install sprinkler systems across the London and South East area. Our portfolio includes retrofitting numerous fire sprinkler heads into apartment complexes with developer Galliard Homes


For more information on our services, or to receive a quote, fill in our online form here. Or call us on 01892 680 090 and speak to our experts today on why a fire protection system can benefit your property. 

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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