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Business / Engineering firm offers new service after sprinkler systems became mandatory in most new homes

The new Anderson High School hostel during construction last year. Photo: Hans J Marter/Shetland News
L/E/F recently fitted a fire suppression system to the Anderson High School hostel.

A LOCAL engineering firm has begun offering the installation of sprinkler systems after completing training and achieving the necessary certification.

Since March this year, and as a consequence of the Grenfell Tower tragedy, all new flats, maisonettes, social housing and shared multi-occupancy residential homes built in Scotland will have to be fitted with automatic fire suppression systems.

Jake Watt of Lerwick Engineering & Fabrications said recent large fire incidents in the isles had brought into focus the need for upgraded fire protection, and since no other company was providing this service locally the engineering business has now stepped up to fill the gap.

The managing director also referred to concerns raised in the council chamber with regards to fire safety standards in care homes run by the local authority.

Watt said a working sprinkler system would protect a building during the vital time it takes for the fire service to arrive, limit damage by keeping the temperature of the fire down and could make the difference between safely escaping from a building and coming to harm.

However, while these new regulations apply to all new residential buildings, such as the social housing planned for the Staney Hill area of Lerwick, the requirement to have a sprinkler system installed has not been rolled out to new hotels.

Watt said contrary to widespread myth sprinkler systems were unobtrusive and would not flood a home when set off.

“It keeps the heat down, and stops the fire from spreading,” he said.

“The whole point of it is that you don’t see it; it’s a plastic disk about 50 mm across – it looks like nothing, you wouldn’t even know it’s there.”

“A standard sized three bedroom home would require one sprinkler per room plus one in the hallway,” Watt said.

“Even if there is no legal requirement, it would be a good idea to have a sprinkler system installed.”


Note: Please also see the investigation by local BBC journalist Jen Stout into how the fires at the Fair Isle Bird Observatory and the Moorfield Hotel were able to spread quickly and destroy the new buildings.