Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of sprinklers?

Sprinklers are your last line of defence in a fire, installed to protect your property and its inhabitants. Having a properly installed domestic sprinkler system will, in almost all cases, reduce damage to your property when a fire breaks out. Even when residents can safely evacuate, the fire can be left to blaze and spread through the home, causing thousands of pounds worth of property damage and potentially the loss of rental income while the property is being repaired.

More importantly, sprinklers can save lives. It’s not always the case that residents can evacuate a building that’s on fire, especially when escape routes like stairwells or hallways might be caught in the blaze. In other cases, vulnerable residents such as the elderly or the disabled may simply lack the mobility to escape in time. This is where sprinkler systems are fundamental, giving hope to those most at risk.

Installing sprinklers in new developments can also be an advantage to developers and builders, making it easier to achieve Building Regulations compliance in a simple and cost-effective way.

Where are sprinklers most important?

All homes would be safer with sprinklers installed, but in some property types sprinklers are particularly important:

  • Care homes, where residents are not always mobile enough to evacuate quickly in the event of a fire.
  • High-rise buildings, where fires on lower floors can block escape routes for residents on higher floors.
  • Student accommodation and domestic dwellings which are crowded, where the risk of fire is greater and speedy evacuation is more difficult.

What are the British standards for sprinkler systems in the UK?

Today we follow the BS9251 2021, which sets out the British standard for fire sprinklers in domestic and residential properties, which includes domestic dwellings, blocks of flats, care homes, dormitories, and hostels. This standard sets out three categories of risk:

  • Category 1 includes small blocks of flats and individual dwellings.
  • Category 2 includes large blocks of flats and small residential care homes.
  • Category 3 includes large residential care homes and hostels.

The BS9251 2014 sets out the parameters of sprinkler systems which should be fitted in each of these property types, including requirements for the number of sprinkler heads which should be fitted and the volume of water required. It's important to follow these standards when fitting a domestic or residential sprinkler system to ensure effectiveness in the event of a fire.

How do fire suppression installations work?

Domestic and residential fire sprinkler systems are installed in student accommodation, care homes and high-rise blocks of flats and individual dwellings and are for life-safety purposes.

They dramatically reduce the risk and damage caused by fire.

A correctly designed and installed sprinkler system can detect and control a fire at an early stage of development and activate an alarm. Operation of the system will rapidly reduce the rate of production of heat and smoke, allowing more time for the occupants to escape to safety or to be rescued.

This British Standard (BS9251: 2021) accordingly covers design, installation, components, water supplies, maintenance and testing of residential and domestic sprinkler systems installed for life safety purposes.

Residential and domestic fire sprinkler systems are systems in accordance with this standard and consist of a water supply, backflow prevention valve (check valve), stop valve, priority demand valve (where required), automatic alarm system (both internal and external) and pipe work to quick response sprinklers.

The sprinklers are fitted at specified locations, the appropriate sprinkler type being used for each location. Sprinklers operate at a pre-determined temperature to discharge water over a known area below. The flow of water thus initiated causes the sounding of an alarm. Only certain sprinklers, which are individually heated above their operating temperature by the heat from the fire, operate.

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