The Local Government Association has called for an urgent review of building regulations, following the deaths of four fire-fighters in Warwickshire and wants to see sprinklers fitted to all new buildings.
This is a misguided response to a tragedy. Sprinklers are not the way to minimise loss of life. Features such as smoke ventilation systems have greater benefits for fighting fire.
We understand the desire to call for change, but knee-jerk reactions could be dangerous. Rather than focusing on new buildings, we should be asking whether the current workplace fire safety regulations are working.
It has been just over a year since the regulations were introduced that require businesses to do a fire risk assessment and implement fire management plans. Are these safety risk assessments actually happening and what policing is being undertaken?
We’re confident that the regulations for new buildings are adequate and approved inspectors are an effective way of checking compliance, but there are at least 2,000 warehouses and sheds in this country, and countless more old-style workplaces. The most practical response is to ensure all places of work have been fully assessed while we wait for the outcome of a lengthy and detailed inquiry.
Paul Timmins, chairman, Association of Consultant Approved Inspectors