Fire safety systems and equipment – residential sprinklers

The Chief Fire Officers’ Association and Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service endorse and actively support the correct installation and use of sprinklers, in line with accepted standards, as a means of securing life, property and fire-fighter safety in all new or refurbished properties.

Sprinklers, how effective are they?

  • across all property types sprinklers are 99% effective
  • across all property types operational reliability of sprinklers is 94%
  • the average fire damage in residential properties fitted with sprinklers is reduced by 75% and 50% in other types of property
  • case studies consistently show a significant reduction in business interruption when a fire is suppressed by a sprinkler system

Please see the Optimal Sprinkler Report by National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) and the Sprinklers Position Statement

Standards for installation

Sprinklers in residential and domestic occupancies should be installed in compliance with the current BS 9251: Sprinkler systems for residential and domestic occupancies – Code of Practice.

Types of systems

While there are a range of different types of sprinkler systems used in a range of premises, it is considered that only wet systems should be specified in domestic premises.

These systems are the simplest, easiest to maintain and are also the most cost-effective.

Pipework can be in copper, steel or CPVC (chlorinated polyvinyl chloride) which is approved for the purpose. Depending on the adequacy of water pressure and flow, it is sometimes possible for a sprinkler system to be connected directly to the cold water main where it enters the dwelling, (subject the approval of the water authority). Where tanks and pumps are necessary because the flow or pressure is inadequate these can be sourced from a range of companies who manufacture approved and certificated equipment.

System design and installation

While there is nothing mysterious about sprinkler systems, the high reliability and effectiveness of these systems has come about over the years by strict adherence to the sprinkler rules and design standards. It would be wise to select a contractor who is not only capable and competent, but who also has an established track record and who can offer proof of compliance with an established quality assurance system.

Sprinklers save lives – and properties – and are the only devices which can detect a fire, sound the alarm, call the fire and rescue service and control extinguish or a fire.