1.1.1 Standard 2.15 (automatic fire suppression systems) of the building regulations requires that buildings must be designed and constructed in such a way that, in the event of an outbreak of fire within the building, fire growth will be inhibited by the operation of an automatic fire suppression system. The standard applies to the following buildings:
- An enclosed shopping centre.
- A residential care building.
- The whole or part of a sheltered housing complex.
- A school building other than a building forming part of an existing school or an extension to a school building where it is not reasonably practicable to install an automatic fire suppression system in that building or extension.
- A building containing a flat or maisonette.
- A social housing dwelling.
- A shared multi-occupancy residential building (with more than six residents).
1.1.2 The last three categories of buildings were added to the regulations in 2020 as part of the Building (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2020 which came into force on 1st March 2021. The change also applies to certain conversions listed in Schedule 2 of the Building (Scotland) Regulations 2004 including:
- Type 1 conversions apply to changes in the occupation or use of a building to create a dwelling or dwellings or part thereof e.g. conversion of a non-domestic building to flats.
- Type 3 conversions apply to changes in the occupation or use of a building which alters the number of dwellings e.g. conversion of a large house to social housing flats.
- Type 7 conversions apply to changes in the occupation or use of a building so that it becomes a residential building e.g. conversion of offices to shared multi-occupancy residential buildings with more than six residents.
1.1.3 Building owners/agents can apply to Scottish Ministers under S3(2)(a) of the Building (Scotland) Act 2003 for a relaxation/dispensation of Standard 2.15 in cases where the building is being extended, altered or converted. Since the introduction of the new categories into Standard 2.15 in March 2021, BSD has received a significant number of applications (primarily for flats and maisonettes) for relaxation of the Standard. Local authorities are of the view that dispensation of Standard 2.15 is merited, particularly where it is not considered to be reasonably practicable having regard to all the circumstances including the cost of undertaking the work. Hence, BSD is considering a review of the requirements of Standard 2.15 to allow verifiers some flexibility.
1.2 Aims and Objectives
1.2.1 BSD has commissioned a research project to consider the circumstances which would support the relaxation of the Standard to assist BSD in the proposal to amend the limitations of Standard 2.15. Relaxations would not apply to building conversions, alterations and extensions if automatic fire suppression systems are already installed.
1.2.2 This research project is considering all the building types listed in paragraph 1.1.1 except for schools as there already is a qualification to the application of the Standard to school buildings.
1.2.3 All other building types are included in Standard 2.15 as the benefits of installing an automatic fire suppression system outweigh the costs of the system. Any relaxation to the Standard should only be permitted if the costs of installing the automatic fire suppression system outweigh the benefits.
1.3 Report Content
1.3.1 This report is organised as follows:
- Section 2 provides an overview of the trends in the number of fires and casualties since 2009/10 in the building types covered by Standard 2.15.
- Section 3 provides a brief summary of the applications for relaxations (as at 20th February 2023).
- Section 4 considers the results of previous cost benefit studies which have been undertaken to assess the cost effectiveness of the installation of automatic fire suppression systems in new buildings.
- Section 5 sets out the estimates of benefits for inclusion in the cost benefit assessment.
- Section 6 sets out the estimates of costs for inclusion in the cost benefit assessment.
- Section 7 presents the results of the cost benefit analysis.
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