Flame test

Q: What do you call Fireman Sam when he is retired?

A:  Sam.

Somewhat more seriously, an inspector dealing with an appeal against the refusal of planning permission for four flats on a landlocked site reached by an unbound vehicular track in south London (DCS Number 400-019-470) has addressed concerns that fire engines would be unable to reach the site in the event of a fire.

Sensibly, the inspector turned to the Building Regulations for guidance. He observed that fire tenders would be too large to negotiate the vehicular track, and the development would exceed the limit of 45 metres distance set out in the Building Regulations. He acknowledged the appellant’s argument that this distance can be increased to 90 metres if sprinklers are installed. He noted, however, that this relates only to houses, not flats. In any case, he reasoned, sprinklers are generally installed to allow more time for evacuation, rather than to extinguish a fire and are not particularly useful for the control of electrical or kitchen fires. Nor would they prevent the spread of fire on the outside of a building. In any event, ambulances would also need to reverse in or out of the site. As such, he concluded, even if he were to give weight to the argument advanced with regard to sprinklers and fire tenders, emergency access would still be unsatisfactory.

Section 4.1542 of DCP Online concerns fire prevention.