UK Labour government recently stated that all new schools can be assured the implementation of sprinkler systems. Reports show that one in three schools constructed or renovated since 2010 have these systems installed.
Labour party officials stated that they would remove the ‘loophole’ currently existing in the legislature which allows a significant proportion of schools to not fit sprinkler systems.
UK Labour government recently stated that all new schools can be assured sprinkler systems with reports showing that one in three schools constructed or renovated since 2010 have these systems installed. Labour party officials stated that they would remove the ‘loophole’ currently existing in the legislature which allows a significant proportion of schools to not fit sprinkler systems.
Worrying Figures Disclosed By The School Minister
The announcement regarding school sprinkler systems was released this month after new data was released by the schools’ minister, Nick Gibb. Mr Gibb stated that since 2010, 74 of all 260 schools commissioned to undergo phase one of the Priority School Building Programme by the Department of Education have installed or have planned to install sprinkler systems. This means that the majority of the schools placed on the programme – 72% to be exact – will not have sprinklers installed on the property.
The Priority School Building Program aims to rebuild schools that are in the worst condition, but only 28% of these priority schools are being considered. Mr Gibb added that the Department of Education did not have comprehensive data on the number of schools with sprinklers installed as these properties are considered being controlled by the free school investor groups.
Fire Brigade Union – Government Risking Children’s Lives
The Labour party has received approximately 17,000 emails in support of their members’ stand for sprinklers to be installed in all schools in Wales and Scotland, but not in Northern Ireland or England. This is in spite of the warning from fire stations stating that the government is risking children’s lives by not installing mandatory sprinklers in all refurbished and new schools.
Earlier in this month, the UK unions lashed out with their opinion on rebuilding West Sussex’ Selsey Academy without sprinklers after the school was completely destroyed in 2016 by a fire accident. “The Fire Brigades Union stated that the decision was incomprehensible and the government agreed that it was shockingly cavalier regarding fire safety for children,” informs a fire equipment expert at TPT Fire.
A representation for the Department of Education stated that while schools present with a range of different fire protection measures, new schools must undergo additional checks when being designed. When a sprinkler is required to keep children safe, the sprinkler will need to be installed. The spokesperson pointed out the Grenfell Tragedy and noted that the DfE has contacted all responsible parties to increase safety in schools and identify any areas that may need investigation.
Corbyn Demands £1bn For Sprinkler Installation for Social High-Rise Facilities
Labour party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, demanded at least £1 billion to be used for sprinkler installation in all social high-rise facilities. Corbyn stated that the government is working closely with schools where the ACM cladding of concern has been identified; therefore, it is necessary that remedial action is conducted immediately.
For all new or refurbished school buildings to receive sprinklers, it is necessary that the development is assessed by an independent inspector. This will certify that the building meets requirements and the sprinkler system is designed for occupant protection allowing the individual to escape in the case of a fire.
Current regulations presume that all new schools will have a sprinkler system installed, except in the case where a building is considered as a ‘low risk’ property. Labour officials stated that they will modify this legislation to ensure that all new buildings will have sprinkler systems installed as a mandatory requirement for building construction.
As part of phase two of the Priority School Building Programme, Mr Gibb reported that an additional 277 schools will be reconstructed; however, as they are in the design stage it remains unclear as to whether or not they will require sprinkler systems. Labour raised concerns at this believing that ministers are ‘neglecting’ school seats and utilising the funds for free school meal programmes instead of improving existing school buildings.