About Firext

How do fire sprinkler systems work?

Sprinkler systems are connected to the mains water supply, which is hidden in the walls and ceilings of the property. Sprinklers are fitted with a gas bulb- this bulb reacts to hot air and gasses. It expands and breaks the bulb. When this happens, the system is activated and the water is released. The water falls in large droplets, which are dense enough to control the fire without the risk of evaporation.

Why are sprinklers so effective?

In the UK, there are around 45,000 fires in dwellings each year. Fire deaths have been decreasing, but the average loss of life due to fire is still around 500 lives per year.

Sprinklers are proven to reduce death and injuries from fire. They are active fire protection, and warn and extinguish fire. They also help protect material damage from fire. Sprinklers are effective because:

  • Injuries are reduced by over 80%
  • Property damage is reduced by 90%, which in turn reduces environmental damage from fire
  • There has never been multiple life loss in a building with sprinklers installed in the UK
  • The risk of a defective sprinkler is 1 in 16 million
  • They also protect the lives of firefighters
  • Smoke damage is the main cause of death in serious fires. As well as putting out fires, sprinklers wash large smoke particles out to reduce density and toxicity
  • A regular sprinkler expels 55 litres of water per minute, compared to a firefighting hose discharging 600 litres a minute, making sprinklers more sustainable
  • Only sprinklers adjacent to the fire discharge, so not all sprinkler heads expel water at the same time


Why are sprinklers required in Wales?

In April 2011, the Welsh Assembly took the unprecedented decision be the first country in the world to pass new regulations that would require fire sprinklers to be installed in houses and flats, both new and converted. The regulations were introduced through a Private Members' Bill in the Welsh Assembly, by Assembly Member Anne Jones, and this passed unanimously under the name "The Domestic Fire Safety (Wales) Measure 2011. When the legislation came into place, it was predicated that it would save 36 lives and stop around 800 injuries from fire between 2013-2022This paved the way for requiring automatic suppression systems in both converted and new dwellings in Wales.

The law was put into place in order to prevent avoidable injuries and death from house fires. The proposals put Wales at the forefront of reducing fire risk, and ultimately cutting numbers of avoidable deaths and injuries from fires.

In January 2016, the Welsh Government amended Approved Document B volumes 1 and 2, with the law affecting all new homes. The amendments are to the Domestic Fire Safety (Wales) Regulations, which resulted in a new Section 7A 'Automatic Fire Suppression Systems' in the Building Regulations 2010 Statutory Instrument. This introduces regulation 37A and regulation 37B, which requires all "new domestic premises" to have fire sprinkler systems.

The legislations covers:

  • Care homes as defined in section 3 of the Care Standards Act 2000;
  • Rooms for residential purposes other than rooms in—
  • A hostel;
  • An hotel;
  • A prison or young offender institution; and
  • A hospital
  • Dwelling-houses and flats, subject to paragraphs (4) and (5)