Review Panel on Building Standards (Fire Safety) in Scotland: report

Report by Dr Paul Stollard on recommendations of the Review Panel on Building Standards (Fire Safety) in Scotland.

Automatic Fire Suppression Systems

40. The Review Panel did not achieve complete agreement on what changes should be made to the mandatory requirement for the installation of automatic fire suppression systems (standard 2.15). However they did agree a series of principles which should underlie any decision to expand the requirement to further building types. These were that decisions should:

  • be evidence based, using fire statistics and recognising continuing demographic and social changes
  • consider the cost-effectiveness of such requirements
  • recognise the public desire for action after Grenfell, and
  • learn from the Welsh experience of a recent mandatory requirement for automatic fire suppression systems in domestic buildings.

41. The Review Panel members were unanimous that the following groups should be required to install automatic fire suppression systems:

  • Houses in Multiple Occupation ( HMOs) used for "care" 24/7, which will necessitate a very careful definition of "care" linked to Care Commission definitions, and
  • large HMOs (10 or more residents).

42. It was agreed that flats should be included on the list of required building groups, provided the installation costs kept at the lower end of the scale ( i.e. simpler installations).

43. It was agreed that single detached dwellings, should not be included on the list of required groups.

44. It was also agreed that there should be clarification over student flats and that those of the "cluster type" (which are by definition HMOs) should be defined as domestic and not residential.

45. The Review Panel felt it was important that the provision of automatic fire suppression systems was never seen as a compensation (or "trade-off") for a reduction in the number of stairs or a lower fire safety performance of the cladding, unless this is part of a fully performance based fire safety engineering approach as outlined earlier.

46. The Review Panel also felt it was important to integrate any extra requirements for automatic fire suppression systems completely into the existing building standards system. Therefore it was preferable to do so through amendments to the existing Statutory Instruments rather than through a separate parallel piece of primary legislation.

Recommendation 6

6. The requirement for Automatic fire suppression systems (2.15) should be extended to some additional building groups:
6.1 HMOs used for "care" 24/7 and HMOs with 10 or more residents.
6.2 Flats provided it can be done with simpler installations.
6.3 Single detached dwellings should not be included.


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