Sprinklers and Building Regulations

Sprinklers and Building Regulations

Approved Document B (ADB) covers the requirements with respect to fire safety in buildings.

Installation of BS9251 fire suppression systems can often help to meet the requirements of ADB in cases where the usual requirements cannot be met.

This fire engineered approach will often afford protection that is more than equivalent to that of ADB. In many cases the use of fire sprinkler systems designed and installed to BS9251 will actually provide a higher level of life safety in the event of fire, than would be achieved with strict adherence to ADB.

Examples of types of applications often accepted by building control officers are given below:

Fire Brigade Access Limitations

Infill developments of houses and blocks of flats, where the access requirements for fire brigade appliances cannot be met. Fire brigade appliances must be able to be sited within 45m of a residential property and access roadways must be of a certain width and have suitable turning circles available.

Development on land, not meeting these requirements, will be allowed where fire sprinkler protection in accordance with BS9251 is provided.


Alternative Means of Escape.

Where there is an occupied space over 7.5m, ADB will require a secondary means of escape. This requirement can be waived with the installation of fire sprinkler throughout.

Open Stairways

Stairways open to ground floor living areas from second floor accommodation, acceptable where fire sprinklers are installed. This is particularly beneficial when a loft conversion is required in a property that has an existing open plan ground floor.

Travel Distance

Travel distances in bed sits or open plan apartments can be extended where fire sprinklers are installed.

Inner Rooms

Inner rooms opening on to an open plan living space are not acceptable under the guidance of ADB but will be allowed with the installation of fire suppression systems.

Internal Protected Corridors or Hallways.

These can be extended where fire sprinklers are installed.

Heat Detectors

Relaxation of requirements for heat detectors in bedroom/bed-sits with cooking facilities and in kitchens may be allowed with the installation of fire sprinklers. Fire sprinklers actuate at a similar temperature as heat detectors, therefore the audible alarm will be sounded at the same time.

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