Is it the Landlord’s Responsibility to Install Fire Sprinklers?
In October 2006, the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, which replaced more than 100 pieces of fire safety law pertaining to commercial establishments, entered into force. It aimed to create precise guidelines for business owners, managers and landlords and to provide help with fire safety and when fire sprinklers are required.
However, in residential buildings, it is important for landlords, and essentially their tenants, to understand what exactly they are required to monitor. And, what their role is should there be a fire.
What is the “Responsible Person”?
In the Fire Safety reform, it is stated that the “responsible person” for a building is the landlord or owner that is in charge of the property. The building’s structure and any common areas are the landlord’s responsibility, but the owner or controller of the business using the space on a daily basis is responsible for implementing fire safety measures.
If your company is housed in a structure that also houses other businesses that are different from yours, such as an office tower block, the landlord or building owner is liable for fire safety. This includes conducting fire risk assessments in communal areas, ensuring there is a fire alarm present and that all fire sprinklers that are required in buildings over 11m, are installed and are working properly.
Current Sprinkler Requirements
The BS 9251 is the British Standard for the installation of sprinklers throughout properties in the UK. Published in 2005, it has since had 2 amendments, including in 2014 and the post-Grenfell Tower fire in 2021.
What Are the Fire Safety Regulations for Landlords?
There are certain things landlords have to consider for fire safety. For example, if the property is a high-rise building, landlords are legally responsible for ensuring that a safe and reliable route is highlighted for tenants to exit if an evacuation is needed. This includes stairways, both inside and outside the building, and emergency lights that highlight the directions tenants should take. Also, make sure there is plenty of signage and fire-resistant materials.
This also includes the installation of fire sprinklers. Sprinkler systems, in line with BS 9251, should be installed in all apartment buildings with top floors that are more than 11m above the ground. The British Standard for fire sprinklers addresses certain properties, which will have landlords and owners:
- Individual Residences
- Houses of Multiple Occupancy (HMOs)
- Boarding Houses
- Residential Care Facilities
Fire Sprinklers Installation
There are certain misconceptions about how effective fire sprinklers are. Contrary to belief, only the sprinklers that detect the high heat will be activated, not the entire system which is what films would have you believe. This is ideal for residential buildings such as flats.
Landlords would not be as worried about a fire spreading. If a fire does start in a particular flat, the individual sprinkler would be activated to deal with the flames. Then, as the fire sprinklers suppress the situation, it gives ample time for the rest of the building to evacuate through the dedicated fire escape plan. Also, though the amount of water the sprinkler head releases is not enough for complete damage, other residents do not have to worry about their property getting wet, unless the fire has spread to their apartment.
RAD Fire Sprinklers
At RAD, we promote the installation of fire sprinklers throughout London and the South East area. There are many benefits to the installation of sprinklers within all types of buildings. Whether this is residential or commercial, landlords and property owners should consider the installation of fire sprinklers to help save damage and lives.
To receive a quote on our fire sprinklers, fill out our form here. Or, give us a call on 01892 680 090.