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What are the legal requirements for fire suppression systems?

The risk of fire is a very real one, and preparation needs to be taken seriously to make sure your building is properly outfitted to tackle any sudden ignition. Here, we look at the regulations surrounding fire suppression systems and what steps to take if you’re thinking of having one installed.

Legal requirements for fire suppression

In the UK, a fire suppression system is not legally required. However, that doesn’t mean that you definitely don’t need one. What is legally required is a fire risk assessment, which may reveal that a fire suppression system is in need of installation. A fire risk assessment can be carried out by any ‘competent person’, but it is highly recommended that you employ a BAFE (British Approvals for Fire Equipment) registered company to undertake the assessment for you, to assure that your building is up to legislation standards. A BAFE registered assessor will ensure that your assessment adheres to all fire safety guidelines and legal requirements.

Who needs a fire risk assessment?

A fire risk assessment is a legal requirement for:

  • Businesses with 5 or more employees (including part-time)
  • Premises open to the public
  • Landlords of HMO properties (houses of multiple occupation)
  • Self employed with business premises.

Furthermore, some establishments will require the installation of a fire suppression system to satisfy insurers or the fire service. This is common for establishments deemed to be at high risk of fire, such as restaurant kitchens. Insurance companies are quite likely to specify the installation of a fire suppression system for their clients, regardless of fire risk assessment results.

Added benefits of a fire suppression system

Besides the obvious boon to safety a fire suppression system grants, presence of a suppression system can benefit certain types of buildings in different ways. For instance, installing sprinklers allows buildings to be constructed closer to adjoining premises, a huge space saver if site space is limited. Sprinklers also allow greater options for retail premises, leading to the approval of longer distances of travel to exits, while apartments and three-storey dwellings may be offered freedom of open plan designs.

Residential care homes, too, may benefit from a delayed evacuation policy in the event of a fire alarm if sprinklers are installed, and regulations on other passive fire protection measures may also be relaxed. So even if your risk fire risk assessment suggests you don’t desperately need a fire suppression system, it could be smart to have one installed regardless.

While a fire suppression system isn’t legally required, it’s not of any particular disadvantage to have one installed. You don’t want to take liberties with the safety of your building and a fire suppression system – and a thorough fire risk assessment – will help stem any potential fire damage to your property and any occupants.

Conditioned Environment provide expert fire suppression system installation to commercial and high end domestic customers. Our engineers work closely with you to make sure your building is fully and properly equipped, from initial planning to installation. Get in touch today for any enquiries about installing a fire suppression system in your property today.