Information For Landlords and Housing Associations
Fire Sprinkler Systems in HMOs (Houses in Multiple Occupation)
The incorporation of a Residential fire sprinkler system to BS 9251 with smoke detection can produce relaxations in certain Part B requirements by increasing maximum travel distances. This can often assist a Housing Association.
For example, an external fire escape might not be required if the travel distances can be extended, and there could be a relaxation in the requirement for a lobbied area between living accommodation and communal areas.
Fire Sprinkler System Advantages
Following the implementation of the Housing Act 2004, extending enforcement of fire protection to approximately 300,000 HMOs in the United Kingdom, landlords began to recognize the advantages of installing fire sprinkler systems to their properties.
However, you don’t have to be the landlord of an HMO to benefit and it may pay anyone associated with a so-called ‘PCB’ (poorly converted building) to make their own investigations as to whether the installation of a fire sprinkler system would bring the property up to specification.
Fire Sprinkler System Grants
Grants have been made available by some local authorities to assist landlords of HMOs to upgrade their properties. Such forward-facing, collaborative measures aid compliance and tenant safety.
Fire Sprinkler Systems as a Compensatory Feature to Meet Fire Safety Requirements
Some examples of where a Residential fire sprinkler system may be used as a compensatory feature to meet fire safety requirements are as follows:
- reduced levels of fire resistance between different user groups (i.e. flats above shops etc.)
- loft conversions – where a new floor is formed at more than 4.5m above ground level, there may be less need to upgrade fire resistance generally
- it can be permissible for inner rooms to open onto an open plan living space where sprinklers are installed
- stairways descending into open plan lounge areas from new second floor accommodation, could be acceptable with sprinkler protection in the premises
Fire Sprinkler Systems in Social Housing and Housing Association Properties
Possible Relaxations to Part B Requirements and Improved Design Options
Fitted to BS 9251 with a smoke detection system, the inclusion of a Residential fire sprinkler system can bring relaxations to certain Part B requirements.
In addition to satisfying Building Regulations, such inclusions also expand design options, aiding optimal use of available space.
As Part of Planning and Design
Fire sprinkler systems can be included in the planning and design phases of Housing Association and social housing projects large and small, high-rise or single-storey. Tenant safety and welfare remain a priority for housing providers and fire protection measures, compliant with Building Regulations, a focus during the commissioning of any new-build
When not included in the original build, fire sprinkler systems can be added to existing properties (retrofitting) and in July 2015, Hackney Council announced its decision to retrofit fire sprinkler systems to 258 homes on Frampton Park estate. The project, one of the first of its kind in London, was to be managed by Hackney’s housing organization, Hackney Homes.
Residential Fire Sprinkler Systems in High-Rise Buildings and Tower Blocks
(link to article of same title)
New Build or Retrofit
Residential fire sprinkler systems can be incorporated into new-build tower blocks and high-rise properties, or retrofitted to existing multi-storey buildings. Successful pilot projects such as Callow Mount in Sheffield, prove that retrofitting to blocks of flats can be cost-effective, with minimal disruption to tenants.
Sprinkler System Water Supply
In new-build, high-rise developments, the sprinkler system is often supplied via a boosted cold-water mains supply. Retrofit sprinkler systems can be supplied either from a boosted cold-water mains supply or via a dedicated fire pump and tank.
Benefits of Concealed Residential Fire Sprinkler Systems
The availability of concealed Residential fire sprinkler systems, where the sprinkler heads sit out of sight in the ceiling void, behind cover plates, means that housing providers need not compromise on aesthetics to satisfy Fire Safety Regulations and protect their tenants.
Legislation has changed in recent years, and in the wake of events at Grenfell Tower in London, will likely shift again to further regulate and bolster fire safety measures. The proven benefits of fire sprinkler systems, evidenced by improved safety, successful pilot projects and enhanced design options represent a significant ‘win-win’ for provider and tenant alike.
To discuss your requirements, email or call 01892 680090
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