RIBA has called for sprinklers to be fitted to all new and refurbished homes and has demanded extra fire escapes in its response to the Grenfell Tower fire. In its submission to the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety led by Dame Judith Hackitt, RIBA has demanded sprinklers in all new and refurbished residential buildings – as is already the law in Wales. The Institute has also called for every new multiple-occupancy residential building of more than three storeys to have more than one vertical means of escape. RIBA's initial detailed recommendations include:
Introduction of requirements for sprinklers/automatic fire suppression systems in all new and converted residential buildings
Repeal of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005,
An enhanced role for the fire brigades in assisting Building Control authorities
Development of clearer, prescriptive and design process-driven guidance in Approved Document B
Introduction of a requirement for more than one means of vertical escape from new multiple-occupancy residential buildings
External walls of buildings over 18 m in height to be constructed of non-combustible (European class A1) materials only
RIBA added that the independent review should review fire safety in the UK’s existing stock of high-rise, multiple occupancy residential buildings an recommended :
Retrofitting sprinklers/automatic fire suppression systems to existing residential buildings over 18 m in height, and perhaps extended to all existing residential buildings above three storeys in height.
For new refurbishment projects involving ‘material alterations’ to high-rise, multiple-occupancy residential buildings, the retrofitting of central fire alarm systems and sprinklers/automatic fire suppression systems should be mandatory. This could be structured on a similar basis to the ‘consequential improvements’ required under Part L of the Building Regulations to the energy performance of existing buildings where they are subject to renovation and/or extension.
The original article in Construction News and the full RIBA response to the call for evidence can be viewed here