This week, the Government finished consulting on changes to BB100 – the document that sets out fire safety design in schools. The FPA is proud to be one of the signatories of a letter sent by 23 organisations to the Education Secretary setting out why the proposals do not go far enough when it comes to improving fire safety in schools.
The letter asks the Education Secretary to immediately reconsider and expand his Department’s proposals to mandate sprinklers in all new build and major refurbished school projects, and not just focus on Special Educational Needs (SEN) schools, boarding schools, and those over 11 metres.
The letter recognises the emphasis on life safety but notes: “The fire safety building regulations’ focus on life safety creates a false sense of security as buildings remain vulnerable to a total fire loss.” It urges: “Building to a property protection baseline ensures schools will be able to withstand a fire – so that it is able to be used again – often within hours of a fire incident.”
The consequences of school fires are not just financial but affect well-being and impact education in the long term as facilities are unable to be used for long periods of time.
The disparity between England and the devolved administrations in Wales and Scotland is marked. The letter asks: “Why the installation of sprinklers in new build and major refurbished schools is mandatory in Scotland and required for central funding in Wales but not in England and Northern Ireland?”
The letter concludes by reaffirming that the 23 signatories are united in their position and see that the Government has missed an opportunity to improve the resilience of the school estate. They urge the Government to rethink its approach and mandate them in all new build and refurbished schools: “To protect and improve the resilience of the school estate and to protect life.”
First published by the Fire Protection Association: https://www.thefpa.co.uk/news/fpa-joins-other-industry-leaders-to-lambast-government-s-proposals-for-sprinklers-in-schools
To stay up to date on the latest, trends, innovations, people news and company updates within the global fire market please register to receive our newsletter here.
Rebecca Morpeth Spayne,
Editor, International Fire Buyer
Tel: +44 (0) 1622 823 922