Press-fit technology on modern sprinkler systems can save lives by facilitating quicker, easier and less disruptive installations in existing buildings, says Geberit, despite Dame Judith Hackitt’s omission of mandatory sprinkler installations in her review of Building Regulations and fire safety laws.
The Hackitt Review has been criticised for its failure to recommend a ban on combustible cladding products or the mandatory installation of sprinkler systems or automatic fire suppression systems in all new domestic buildings and existing tower blocks. Both measures had been proposed by RIBA as part of its recommended baseline prescriptive requirements ahead of the Hackitt Review’s publication in May.
Now Geberit has highlighted the benefits of innovative press-fit technology in a new guide, designed to help specifiers, contractors, developers, engineers and local authorities to overcome the perceived challenges of retrofit installations.
Geberit’s guide includes a foreword from Ann Jones AM, the Welsh Assembly Minister who successfully campaigned for sprinkler systems to be installed in all new build domestic properties in Wales.
Covering a summary of existing legislation and perceived challenges to retrofit installations, it breaks down the barriers and presents press-fit technology as a viable solution that can help improve the safety of existing buildings – with or without mandatory installations.
Antony Corbett, product manager for Geberit piping supply systems, said: “Sprinkler systems save lives but for too long the construction industry has had this perception that retrofit installations are messy, disruptive, unattractive and most importantly too expensive to ensure viability.
“With press-fit systems this simply isn’t the case. Contractors and their customers can benefit from fast, reliable connections, with no hot works, lightweight piping and a clean finish. There are cost savings too – BSRIA calculates that the installation efficiencies of press-fit can deliver cost savings of approximately 27 per cent when compared with screwed steel pipework.
“It was disappointing that Dame Judith Hackitt didn’t include mandatory sprinkler installations in her review in light of the Grenfell disaster, but the fact remains that sprinklers offer a viable, cost-efficient and proven fire suppression system which can and will save lives in the event of a fire.
“We wanted to produce something that would help the industry to overcome any perceived barriers, highlight the benefits of press-fit and enable specifiers and contractors to confidently sell the benefits of modern sprinkler systems, even for retrofit installations.”
Writing in the document, Ann Jones AM, Labour Assembly Member, Vale of Clwyd, said: “Often fire safety is seen as reacting to events rather than leading debate in order to avoid such dreadful tragedies and that is why a document like this is vital to keeping the conversation going and also offering learning experiences, building on those who have already taken steps to retrofit sprinkler systems into homes.
“There can be no doubt that the installation of a sprinkler system offers a degree of security, protection of one’s home and many precious memories, it has a good environmental footprint and also reduces the burdens on public sector funding. But above all, no one has ever died from a fire related incident where a sprinkler has been installed.
“This document will play an important role in helping to educate, agitate and hopefully organise those who have it in their power to fit sprinkler systems into existing properties.”
Download the guide
To download Geberit’s free white paper, ‘Pressing matters: Breaking the barriers to retrofitting sprinkler systems in existing building stock’, and to learn more about the potential of retrofit sprinkler installations, visit https://www.geberit.co.uk/campaign/pressing-matters.