Sprinkler systems to be made compulsory in new social housing

Housing Minister Kevin Stewart

The Scottish Government has announced legislation to make sprinkler systems compulsory in new social housing.

Housing Minister Kevin Stewart confirmed that the government will take forward Labour and Co-op MSP David Stewart’s proposal for a members’ bill to make it a legal requirement for all future new build social housing properties to be fitted with sprinkler systems.

Currently all new high-rise domestic buildings, whether private or social, with a floor over ‎18 metres must have automatic fire suppression systems fitted.

David Stewart launched a consultation on the bill in April following a BBC Scotland investigation in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire, which claimed the lives of 71 people in the North Kensington tower block last June, found there are no sprinklers in over 300 high-rise buildings managed by Scottish councils and social landlords.

The plans received overwhelming support, with 94% of the consultation responses in favour and over 50 MSPs, from across all five political parties, signed up in support of the bill’s final proposal.

Kevin Stewart said: “I am very grateful to David Stewart for his work on bringing forward this important issue and gaining cross-party support for his proposal. I can confirm that the Scottish Government will implement the aim of Mr Stewart’s proposal and will bring forward legislation as soon as is practicable in this Parliamentary session.

“This is an opportunity to further improve standards in our social housing and this work will be taken forward alongside the recommendations of the two reviews of building standards and fire safety which we will consult on later this summer.

“I look forward to continuing to work together with David Stewart and the very many others who have contributed to date in order to see this legislation through.”

David Stewart added: “I intend to work closely with the Government on the plans and will continue to campaign to ensure that this new requirement makes it onto the statue books as soon as possible.

“My hope is that, as fire sprinkler technology becomes more widely used, eventually all Scottish homes will be protected by this life saving technology.”

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