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Sprinklered Buildings


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A lot in the media today about retro fitting sprinklers to high rises and other buildings, which has been recommended previously, but there hasn't been much uptake other than the change in legislation which requires them in new builds above a certain height. This has also been extended to all new build homes in Wales.

We're probably all familiar with sprinkler systems in commercial premises, but does anyone have any details of the type of system being fitted in domestic properties in Wales?

In more general terms has anyone experienced firefighting in a building with sprinklers activated?

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Keith, we had a CPD from this company a few months ago and they covered residential, this link may be of assistance on the type of system for domestic houses etc. 

It was interesting to hear the view on mist systems, and we were advised that if a mist system is fully loaded (i.e. pipes and tank full of water) there is a risk of legionaries due to the mist creating fine particles of water that can be easily inhaled rather than standard sprinklers water that are less likely to be inhaled on activation.  It also brings up the item on risk assessment for someone entering the room after a mist system has activated.

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When I was at Shoreditch, we got called to a flooding in a 10 storey block of flats by a passer by. 

We turned up to find an absolute torrent of water flying out of the kitchen window on the 4th floor, it almost looked like the room was half submerged. 

Sent the crews up with a toolbox to knock up the flat, and a couple of minutes later they come back over the radio....."Guv there's something weird here, this water smells like burning"

Cue lots of running around and charging the riser. Turns out someone had left a wicker basket on the hob and the sprinklers had kicked in. They kept it exactly where it was, would have easily been an 8 pumper or more otherwise.

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Although way below 30m in height, I reckon sprinklers would have helped here:

A 4 storey timber frame and timber clad block of flats in Kent, going well this morning.

Its about 10 years old at the most (being in Phase 1 of the development that started in 2006), so why has the compartmentation apparently failed so spectacularly ? It looks like a US structure fire where the building is going well as timber is used extensively  

Maybe the Grenfell Inquiry should also look at the use of environmentally friendly timber building products, before this becomes the next ACM scandal?

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Don't we see this all too often? I do think that once a fire gets into the void/wall cavity in a timber framed building, its often inevitable that the fire spreads, regardless of proper fire stopping/compartmentation or not.  The sheer difficulty of stopping such fires, which can only be done by 'opening up' the structure is so labour intensive and slow, the 60 minutes/30 minutes stopping times are often exceeded by the time the fire is burning for.

Aren't the building regs and App Doc B there to protect the occupants, rather than the building anyway?

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23 hours ago, Noddy said:

I do think that once a fire gets into the void/wall cavity in a timber framed building, its often inevitable that the fire spreads, regardless of proper fire stopping/compartmentation or not.  

This is where sprinklers come into play as they will often suppress the fire before it has a chance to spread to cavities. However, despite the calls from the (profit hungry) sprinkler industry, I question how effective wet sprinklers will be in terms of resilience to vandalism. Even the pre action type (where AFD and a bulb breakage is required before water flows) are not exempt from horseplay.

I worked at North Kensington and went to fires and incidents at Grenfell. They had smoke detection in staircases to open smoke vents (not to sound the alarm). The detectors were housed in powder coated steel grills to prevent abuse. Many of the grills and detectors showed signs of burning where a lighter had been applied to the head- presumably to create a false alarm and mass evacuation by those not understanding why the detector was there. This sort of vandalism is a part of life in some blocks. We have all seen it, whether we are in the fire safety game or not

So there is the paradox. Sprinklers would have almost certainly stopped the fridge fire developing to involve the cladding at Grenfell and would save lives, injuries, trauma & damage. But how do you protect 24 floors from nefarious actuations of the sprinkler system on. a regular basis? Answers on a postcard please!

Imagining living in a flat under this corridor :(


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