Sprinkler thresholds – leading or lagging

In the realm of fire regulation, in 2020 the UK emerged as a leader in Europe by reducing the height threshold guidance for sprinklers in new-build residential buildings to 11m. However, when it comes to fire safety guidance in warehouses, the situation is quite different. The UK is lagging far behind many of our European neighbours propping up the bottom of the table with regulatory guidance only calling for sprinklers in warehouses that exceed an enormous 14- 20,000marea. When you consider the importance of business resilience and continuity, the far smaller guidance threshold areas in Europe mean that these markets are far better prepared to recover from devastating fires that threaten their businesses and economies, writes Alan Brinson, Executive Director at European Fire Sprinkler Network.

Since the tragic events of the Grenfell Tower fire there has increased attention to the benefits and use of sprinklers in residential buildings as a key fire safety measure. The recent changes to the regulations in Scotland and regulatory guidance in England have formalised that position. During 2023 Northern Ireland consulted to follow this path which will see a common approach to sprinklers in residential buildings across the UK for such buildings over 11m. In the Republic of Ireland, the fire safety guidance was changed to require sprinklers in residential buildings over 15m. These moves are a significant change that has clearly placed fire sprinklers as a key element in the guidance for fire safety. Click to read more: