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Sprinkler Systems

Volume 406: debated on Thursday 5 June 2003

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To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what building regulations concerning sprinkler systems are (a) in place and (b) planned for (i) houses of multiple occupation, (ii) care homes, (iii) hospitals, (iv) council offices, (v) listed buildings and (vi) domestic properties. [116850]

The Building Regulations 2000 (as amended) make no specific requirements regarding the provision of sprinklers. Guidance on measures that will meet the fire safety requirements of the Building Regulations is given in Approved Document B (Fire safety). Approved Document B is intended to provide guidance for some of the more common building situations. This guidance is not mandatory and there may well be alternative ways of achieving compliance with the requirements.The current Approved Document does not suggest that sprinklers should be provided in houses of multiple occupation, care homes, listed buildings or domestic properties. For guidance on the design of hospitals, the Approved Document refers to the NHS "Firecode" series of documents, which suggest that sprinklers should be installed in certain parts of a hospital and in specific circumstances. In respect of the construction of new office buildings generally, the Approved Document suggests the provision of sprinklers for those buildings of a height greater than 30 metres. The Building Regulations only apply to most building work undertaken in England and Wales. Therefore they would not be applicable to existing listed buildings unless building work was being undertaken.A major review of Approved Document B is due to commence next year. As part of this review it is our intention to consider the potential of extending the provisions for sprinkler protection to new residential premises including houses, flats and maisonettes, houses in multiple occupation, old person's rest homes, children's homes and homes for disabled people. The issue of fire safety generally in hospitals and offices will also be considered as part of the review.