Fire away

In a previous blog, Flame test, we reported an appeal case in which an inspector was not satisfied that a sprinkler system would provide adequate mitigation against fire safety risk at a site for four flats which would be inaccessible to fire appliances. In another appeal concerning the erection of one dwelling in Greater Manchester, on the other hand, an inspector decided that sprinklers would overcome the problem.

In this case, (DCS Number 400-020-145), the inspector noted that at its narrowest point, the short access was 2.39 metres in width, below the minimum width of 2.75 metres that was required for a fire engine to access the site. He noted, however, that Manual for Streets (2007) advises that “residential sprinkler systems are highly regarded by the FRS and their presence allows a longer response time to be used. A site layout which has been rejected on the grounds of accessibility for fire appliances may become acceptable if its buildings are equipped with these systems”. Given that the proposal was for a single dwelling only, he considered that this measure would provide appropriate mitigation to any fire risk.

The principal difference between the two cases is the number of residential units and the length of the access. But, if a fire engine can’t get to the fire the difference in the length of the access is immaterial, isn’t it?

Section 4.1542 of DCP Online concerns fire prevention.