Installing sprinklers

The views of our residents, community partners and stakeholders are very important to us, and we use these to make informed decisions and improve your housing services. 

Currently in England, sprinklers are only a legal requirement in new residential blocks over 30 metres tall.  Protecting all residents living in Westminster’s existing tall buildings from fire is our priority and in 2017 we committed to installing in-flat sprinklers.

Since then we have investigated how to do this and installed sprinklers into a high-rise supported building in Pimlico. From November 13 - December 18 2019 we asked leaseholders and tenants to tell us their views on how we can install more sprinklers to make buildings safer.  

We agree with London Fire Brigade, alongside many other local authorities, that sprinklers are important and one of the best ways to stop a fire. However, we acknowledge it’s important to be pragmatic and take time to plan this work. We do not want to rush installations or escalate leaseholder costs.

We have fitted a sprinkler system into high-rise building in Pimlico and before we go further, we wanted to find out what residents think about installing sprinklers into existing flats, in tall buildings, through a questionnaire.

The insights from this research will inform our thinking and allow us to make future decisions.

Things we asked respondents to think about 

There is a body of evidence, which proves sprinklers can save lives, by providing much needed time when a fire occurs. They are the only system that tackles the fire immediately at the source. Unlike in the movies, sprinklers are triggered one by one where an increase in temperature occurs in a room – they don’t all go off together throughout a building. 

We have compiled a brief information sheet about sprinklers, including estimated costs to install them, and encouraged residents to review this before completing the questionnaire.

Review the information sheet (PDF 287KB- opens new window).

How residents took part

The online questionnaire was open from 13 November - 18 December 2019. Printed copies were available upon request. We also emailed all residents and wrote to leaseholders to encourage them to take part. Our visiting officers also door knocked on properties, assisting leaseholders and residents complete the questionnaire and to ensure no one is digitally excluded.
 

Next steps

In early 2020 we will contact all who completed the survey, if they provided their contact details, with an update on how their views have been considered. 

We will also keep this page updated.