The government has welcomed the findings of the Callow Mount sprinkler retrofit project report, launched yesterday in Westminster.

Speaking at the launch of the Callow Mount sprinkler retrofit report, Safer High-rise Living, Chief Fire and Rescue Advisor Sir Ken Knight welcomed the findings. He told delegates: "It is really encouraging to see the sector rising to the challenge to show retro-fitting sprinklers isn't as costly as previously thought."

He said it would be particularly useful to target social housing and sheltered accommodation. Supporting the British Automatic Fire Sprinkler Association's efforts to promote the report's findings around the country, Sir Ken added: "Housing owners should be made aware of these findings and put them on their risk profile. We need to focus on the risk-based approach."

London Fire Brigade Deputy Commissioner Rita Dexter also welcomed the report's findings, saying it will be used in London. However, she did express concern that the report focused on high-rise buildings, which she stressed "are not intrinsically unsafe" in London, and like Sir Ken, pointed towards sheltered housing as a primary concern.

Those in attendance were in full agreement about the cost-effectiveness of retrofitting sprinklers. Delegates heard that the gauntlet had been thrown down by then Chief Fire Officers Association President Peter Holland, when he called for the industry to reduce costs.

Rising to the challenge, BAFSA Treasurer Simon Rooks outlined how efficient retrofitting sprinklers in a high-rise building turned out to be. Rather than the projected £85,000 to £100,000 estimated overall costs, the project was completed at £55,000, costing just £1,148 per flat. This represented, he said, "real value and an opportunity to make people's homes safer".

He pointed out that the objective was to demonstrate that retrofitting sprinklers is practical and economical and told attendees "I believe we've proved that".

Project Manager Steve Seaber said BAFSA would be working hard to promote the report's findings, drawing comparisons with fire losses, such as the £13,000 damage to a flat in an adjacent tower block to Callow Mount. "We are unlikely to see legislative change in the short-term but guidance should be changed to reflect the report's findings," he urged.

 

Posted April 13th, 2012 at 1040 by Andrew. Comment by emailing: andrew.lynch@pavpub.com