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BAFSA has issued the following statement :
BAFSA is the professional trade association for fire sprinkler installers, suppliers, manufacturers and associated bodies.
s an association, we wish to express our grave concern at the lack of urgency in respect of positive action; together with technical and financial support which is available to housing providers following the unprecedented tragedy at Grenfell Tower.
None of us will ever forget the scenes following this disastrous fire whose death toll may never be fully known.
As an association, we have worked tirelessly for more than forty years to ensure that automatic fire sprinklers are properly designed and installed in all types of occupancies across the United Kingdom. Sprinklers are not new technology having been is use for more than 150 years. Our manufacturers have consistently worked to ensure that the latest innovations are included in all their designs and that these designs pass rigorous testing standards with third party accreditation bodies.
Likewise, our installer members submit their designs and completed installation to the scrutiny not only by the appropriate accreditation bodies, but also by other regulators and the insurers.
As the primary trade body for the sprinkler, industry we have worked with education and qualification bodies so that our members have access to training courses and qualifications that ensure their personnel can meet the rigorous standards imposed on our industry.
The UK sprinkler industry, through this Association has invested heavily in research to ensure we can produce evidence-based data for use by local and national governments – for example, in respect of the wider use of sprinklers in warehouses and schools. It was BAFSA backed research which proved that retrofitting of sprinklers in social housing was indeed feasible and cost effective.
Sadly, until now, much of our research has been ignored or discounted by Whitehall.
BAFSA urges Government to take immediate action to promote actively retrofitting of automatic fire sprinklers in high-rise housing throughout the UK as the only effective measure to compensate for single staircases, combustible external cladding and poor standards of fire compartmentation.
Calls for a coordinated approach to the provision of financial and technical support to ensure that all housing bodies are able to carry out this work.
Calls to ensure ensure that housing providers only install automatic fire sprinklers to the appropriate British Standard using third party accredited installers and approved components.
Action to prevent the needless number of fire deaths in the UK continuing is needed now.
BAFSA Chief Executvie, Keith MacGillivray MBE has written to MPs stressing the need for a review of ADB and an update of Building Regulations :
How to better protect people, Firefighters and the built environment from the ravages of fire has become a focus of many discussions since the horrific events at Grenfell Tower on 14th June 2017.
We think you will agree there is an urgent need to embed the most effective fire safety systems into our building stock and into the Building Regulations.
From our previous correspondence you will be aware of the huge body of evidence that sprinklers very quickly and effectively reduce fire size, thus limiting fire spread to the room of fire origin and giving all occupants a longer time to escape.
Recent research confirms that fires in dwellings where sprinkler systems operated had an average area of fire damage of under 4m2. This compares to an average area of fire damage of 18 to 21m2 for all dwelling fires in England between 2011/12 and 2015/16. The NFCC/NFSN research also shows that the operational reliability of sprinkler systems was 94% and the performance effectiveness was 99% across all building types at incidents attended by the UK Fire and Rescue Services during the period from 2011 to 2016.
At an incident involving sprinklers, Firefighters are highly unlikely to encounter a developing fire requiring commensurate resources and tactics. Indeed in many recorded cases, the familiar 'Out on Arrival' (OOA) message has been sent to say that the sprinklers have indeed extinguished the fire prior to the arrival of the Fire and Rescue Services.
We are calling for Building Regulations in England to be updated so that due acknowledgment can be made tothe advances in building technology, materials employed and utilisation of buildings since they were last updated.
We would also urge that the Building Regulations recognise the need for 3rd party approvals of all products, equipment and 3rd party certification of companies involved in the installation and maintenance of all fire protection system. It is a fact that plumbers, electricians and mechanical engineers do not have the necessary skills, knowledge and expertise to undertake and sign off a sprinkler installation. 3rd party certification confirms competence, compliance and capability. The Government can easily amend the Building Regulations to ensure that the ADB guidance considers the economic, societal and environmental costs and impacts of fire alongside life safety impacts.
We believe the ADB review should start now. It was long overdue before the Grenfell Tower fire – there should be no further delay.
The Department for Education has for the past year been considering changes to its Building Bulletin 100 (BB100) for the fire safety design of schools. The impression given by the Department’s initial announcement suggested that the provisions for the installations of sprinklers in schools should be lessened. We therefore call on Government to not only explicitly maintain the BB100 sprinkler expectation but to also act to close the loophole which allows risk assessment recommendations to be ignored. Anything less we feel would be acceptance that this Guidance can be freely disregarded.
In an era when the Government is responsible for the well-being and safety of an increasingly elderly and vulnerable population, and when budget resilience is paramount, it is in the Government’s interest to stop the needless loss of human life; to better protect Firefighters performing their duties; to act to reduce the number of large fires and to reduce the cost of fire on the national and local purses and the communities who may be destroyed by fire.
Our team of experts include ex UK Fire & Rescue Chiefs and Officers, together with technical experts from the sprinkler industries. They have first-hand experience of the horror of fire and in-depth knowledge as to how it can be controlled. We offer their time to you and your parliamentary colleagues.
On Thursday 13th July 2017 there was a small fire at Regency Mill, Macclesfield.
The fire was controlled to room of origin as sprinklers had activated.
Regency Mill is Grade II listed and part of the premises was built in 1790.
Last night the BBC aired an episode of Eastenders, during the episode there was an incident involving candles during a school prom, this occurs approximately 25 minutes into the show.
Following the incident, the sprinkler system immediately operates throughout the function area, close up shots show the actuation of multiple sprinkler heads.
Both the Chief Executive of BAFSA and the Chair of Communications & Market Development committee have written to the BBC in the strongest terms and asked for an apology and explanation of how sprinklers work to be published after the next Eastenders episode and on their website.
It would be helpful if you could also file a complaint to the BBC online, this takes about 10 minutes to complete.
Given that BAFSA haS spent a huge amount of time educating the public and press and in particularly the BBC, on how sprinklers work and what they could have saved had they been fitted in Grenfell Tower, this is particularly galling.
BAFSA hopes you will be able to file this complaint, as we all know this misrepresentation of how sprinklers actuate has been going on too long.
The link to the BBC Complaints Online site is: http://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints/complain-online/
London Fire Brigade received a call to a fire at the Bussey Building in Peckham on Wednesday 19th July at 01:46.
The building was formerly a factory of three and five floors plus basement built circa 1887 but has been converted to a multiple use commercial building with bars, cafes, offices and small units. In addition, there is an open air bar and cinema situated on the roof of the building. There is a sprinkler system throughout the building
The fire was located on the 4th floor which had been converted into multiple small art studios.The sprinkler system alarm actuated and alerted people to the fire and there were no reported injuries
When the Fire Service arrived, 4 sprinklers heads had operated in the room of origin along with a head in the corridor outside the unit. These had controlled the fire until it was extinguished fully by the Brigade.
From press photographs of the building it is evident that without the operation of the sprinklers this could have been a protracted and dangerous incident for all concerned.