Fire prevention – it makes business sense (2)

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be undertaken outside of normal working hours, with minimum disruption to normal business.

Legislation changes

There is no national fire safety legislation that requires sprinklers to be installed in warehouses. In fact there are an estimated 100 pieces of current legislation that relate to fire safety in warehouses; many of them local acts. For example the Merseyside Act requires sprinklers to be fitted in all warehouses over 7,000cu m.

The most important legislation, the Building Regulations 1991 – approved Document B, 2003 edition and the Fire Precautions (Workplace) Regulations 1997 and the Fire Regulations (Workplace) (Amendments) Regulations 1999 are currently being reviewed by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.

A consultation paper and regulatory impact assessment on changes to the Building Regulations are expected early next year with likely changes to legislation in 2006. A new Fire Services Act is currently before Parliament and should be enacted in 2005. As a result national standards will be replaced by local response arrangements and the fire certificate will be replaced by the employer’s own fire risk assessment along the lines of existing health and safety legislation.

O’Neill says: “These government-led initiatives mean a greater focus is put on life safety and so insurers’ requirements for the protection of buildings and businesses will become even more important in the future. It is therefore essential that insurers’ requirement for property protection remain in the forefront of the minds of building designers, end users and regulators.”

Although future legislation is not expected to include a requirement to incorporate sprinklers into large warehouses it makes sound business sense for manufacturers and warehouse operators to install sprinklers in new builds or retro-fit in existing warehouses. Containment not only protects life, it is insurance against loss of business. n

Laurie Sice is with distribution property specialist Tel: 0870 606 0123.

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