Fire sprinkler systems will start being added to all planned social housing next year with the implementation of new Scottish Government regulations.
This is because fire sprinkler legislation first launched by Highlands and Islands Labour MSP, David Stewart, should become law next year.
Mr Stewart has received a letter from Local Government, Housing and Planning Minister, Kevin Stewart, saying that sprinklers will be a requirement in all new build social housing, flats, maisonettes and larger multi-occupancy dwellings including where care is provided.
The regional MSP has heard that the Building Scotland (Amendment) Regulations 2020 are being worked up by solicitors and include clear definitions for new social housing.
David Stewart was told in 2018 that the Scottish Government was taking forward his campaign for greater fire safety methods in social housing.
“I am glad that the government is working on implementing this and I have now been told the new regulations should come into force by May next year,” said David Stewart.
“Fire sprinklers have been proven time and time again to be effective in the fight against fire and I know that this move will save lives.
“There has always been strong backing for these plans from the public, the industry and other MSPs, especially in the light of the Grenfell Tower disaster.
“I would still like retro-fitting sprinklers in older properties to be considered, and although that is my longer term hope, I understand the problems this would pose.
“As yet I am not aware if the outbreak of Covid 19 has affected the schedule to implement this, but I do hope not.”
David Stewart previously proposed a Member’s Bill which would require fire sprinkler systems to be installed into all new-build social housing across Scotland, as a method of tackling Scotland’s high rates of fire death and injury. 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.
The Scottish Government then announced it would include the requirement for fire sprinklers in social housing as part of their response to the recommendations from the Building and Fire Safety Review Panels. Minister Kevin Stewart told the MSP the intention was to put the changes to regulations before parliament before the summer recess, with amendments and work with the construction sector following afterwards. The Minister is to keep the MSP updated on progress of The Building Scotland (Amendment) Regulations 2020.