Call to fit and fund sprinkler systems in high-rise buildings

Councils across the country, including Sheffield, have written to the Secretary of State asking for funding so that they can complete sprinkler retrofitting programmes in high-rise buildings in their respective towns and cities.

The fourteen councils signed the letter requesting funding and sent a delegation to Downing Street calling for the vital monies which will safeguard and reassure many thousands of tenants across the country.

In the wake of the Grenfell Tower Tragedy, a number of councils identified the need to retrofit sprinkler systems in their high-rise tower blocks and the letter highlights the growing support for this work, with the All-Party Parliamentary Fire Safety and Rescue Group, National Fire Chiefs Council, the Royal Institute of British Architects, the Fire Brigades Union, the Association of British Insurers, the Fire Protection Association, London Fire Brigade and the Fire Sector Federation all calling for the retrofitting of sprinklers.

In June last year the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee recommended that ‘The Government should make funding available to fit sprinklers into council and housing association-owned residential buildings above 18 metres’.

While there have been growing calls for sprinklers, a number of councils have either consulted residents or drawn-up programmes to retrofit and work is already underway in many parts of the country. The work will cost millions but the councils want to make sure that tenants and residents’ fundamental right to feel safe in their own homes is met. Nearly two years after the Grenfell Tower tragedy, tenants are still seeking reassurance that lessons have been learned.

Janet Sharpe, Director of Housing and Neighbourhood Services said: 

“We are continuing to work with the government to secure funding for improving the safety of tenants and residents in the city as part of our fire strategy and we’re asking for money to install sprinklers in all high-rise buildings regardless of tenure and in high risk accommodation.

“We were pleased that the government has announced the funding to cover the cost of re-cladding Hanover Tower, the only council-owned tower block in Sheffield that failed a fire safety test. The funding means that council tenants and leaseholders will not have to fund the works.

“As we hear more about the funding for sprinkler systems we will keep tenants and residents informed of progress.”

The local authorities that have signed the letter are:

  • Birmingham City Council
  • Bristol City Council
  • Coventry City Council
  • Croydon City Council
  • Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council
  • Leeds City Council
  • Liverpool City Council
  • Manchester City Council
  • Newcastle City Council
  • Nottingham City Council
  • Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council
  • Sheffield City Council
  • Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council
  • Wolverhampton Metropolitan Borough Council

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