The Wokingham Paper

Wokingham council commits to installing sprinklers in new builds and refurbishments

Sprinklers ready to be intstalled in a building Picture: claudio losa from Pixabay

NEW BUILDS and refurbishments of council-owned properties will have sprinklers fitted after a motion pushing for their installation was passed by Wokingham Borough Council. 

At the virtual meeting held on Thursday, September 17, Cllr Pauline Helliar-Symons introduced the plan for Wokingham adopt Royal Berkshire Fire Authority guidelines. These recognise that sprinklers and automatic fire suppression systems save lives and should be installed into major refurbishments and new projects. 

It also calls on the planning department to promote and support their installation. A final part of the motions sees the council commit to writing to the Government to make it a legal requirement to install these devices in buildings. 

“The intent is reducing risk and the impact of fire on people, property and the environment,” Cllr Helliar-Symons said. “Evidence has shown that sprinklers will save lives, reduce the impact of fire on the environment and reduce interruption to business.

“We, as local authority members, can play an important role promoting the benefits of sprinklers, ensuring they’re actively considered is a positive risk reduction measure that mitigates the human impact of economic and environmental costs while maintaining firefighter safety.”

Seconding the motion, Cllr Rachelle Shepherd-DuBey said: “We have passed two previous motions on sprinklers and other fire suppression systems for school but apparently they weren’t prescriptive or clear enough to simply say that any new school building built in Wokingham greater than 15 square metres in area or above a single story is required to have a sprinkler system to preserve the lives and education availability of our children in the Borough.”

Cllr Angus Ross, who sits in the fire authority, expressed some frustration at current building regulations and said: “We must support these proposals”. He added that he was delighted that sprinklers were proposed for the new Dinton Activity Centre.

With no one wishing to speak against, councillors went to a vote, which was passed by unanimously.

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