Sprinklers are very effective at what they do, containing and suppressing fire, sounding a local alarm, calling the fire and rescue service and restricting the growth of fire, but there is clear evidence that when a fire occurs in a sprinkler protected building the fire and property damage incurred is a tiny percentage of that which is likely in an unprotected building. Sprinklers are also very effective at protecting lives including the lives of fire fighters and in the UK there has never been a multiple life loss in a building fitted with a properly designed, working sprinkler system. In industrial and commercial buildings recent real-life incidents have demonstrated the value of sprinkler systems in promoting business resilience with warehouses and factories back at work the day after a fire.
The reliability and efficacy of sprinklers demand installations which are:
- Designed strictly in accordance with published national and international standards
- Installed by competent contractors who hold third party certification from an independent, third party certification body
- Subject to regular inspections and maintained in accordance with national and international standards
- Subject to a programme of review to ensure that the system remains compliant for the fire risks present
The link below takes you to a document summarises the main obligations imposed on the owner or occupier of a building or structure which is fitted with a sprinkler system. The advice given also holds true for watermist systems. Additional information on the topics covered can be found in other publications in this series: BIF 27: Sprinklers: A Guide for Owners and Occupiers