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Educational Facilities: Sprinklers

Volume 454: debated on Tuesday 5 December 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what (a) financial and (b) other assistance his Department provides to local education authorities to provide sprinkler facilities in new educational facilities; and if he will make a statement. (107090)

[holding answer 4 December 2006]: The Department does not set aside funding specifically for the installation of sprinklers in schools. It is for local authorities to decide what they do with the funding they are allocated. They can use it to install sprinklers where their need is demonstrated by a risk assessment, or where they represent value for money. Where a local authority has a general policy of installing sprinklers in schools, and need or value for money is not demonstrated in a particular project, it can of course provide additional funding to cover sprinklers.

The Department is preparing a new publication on fire safety in schools—Building Bulletin 100, “Designing and Managing Against the Risk of Fire in Schools”. This includes guidance on sprinklers but, following public consultation, we saw the need to do more work in this area. We therefore commissioned consultants to analyse case studies of school projects where sprinklers have been installed. They are establishing reliable figures for both installation and maintenance costs, and developing these into a full cost benefit analysis. This work will be completed in January and then integrated into the final version of Building Bulletin 100, which we expect to publish several months later.