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Calling for safer schools

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Calling for safer schools

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has joined other leading bodies in the built environment in calling on the government to require the installation of sprinklers in schools.

The organisation has signed a joint statement demanding action, including the retrofitting of sprinklers in existing school buildings when relevant refurbishment takes place.

The joint statement, which has also been signed by the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB), the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) and the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) comes ahead of Parliamentary scrutiny on the Building Safety Bill.

The statement reads:

“As leading professional bodies in the built environment, we believe further action is required to improve the fire safety of buildings in the UK.

“Lives, stock and property are saved by the use of Automatic Fire Suppression Systems (AFSS), which includes sprinklers.

“At present, England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland differ in their requirements on sprinklers in schools yet the science of fire knows no political or geographical boundaries.

“Fire safety of occupants and firefighters is of primary concern. Loss of schools in a community can have devastating effects.

“Recent research has evidenced the number of fires in schools and the benefits AFSS would bring.

“Achieving a more consistent approach to life safety and sprinkler installations in schools that draws on best practice from all the UK nations would provide clarity to the industry and help better protect the public and communities.

“We support the installation of AFSS in all new and converted school buildings of any height and retrofitting to existing buildings when refurbishment occurs as ‘consequential improvements’ where a building is subject to ‘material alterations.’

“Each of the professional bodies will bring forward guidance for our own professionals in line with this statement in the absence of government legislation.”