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Schools: Fires

Education written question – answered on 24th November 2011.

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Photo of Kevin Brennan Kevin Brennan Shadow Minister (Education)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education

(1) whether his Department plans to review Building Bulletin 100: Design for fire safety in schools; and if he will make a statement;

(2) whether his planned review of school building regulations will consider fire safety;

(3) whether his Department has assessed the costs and benefits of installing sprinklers in new schools.

Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Minister of State (Education)

holding answer 1 November 2011

On 3 November the Department issued a public consultation document "Standards for School Premises". This document includes our proposals to revise the school premises regulations and to reduce significantly the amount of guidance on school premises.

Fire safety, including the fire resistance of building elements and provision of adequate means of escape in case of fire, is covered in Part B of the Building Regulations, but more generally by the RRF03 (as cited in Part 3 of the ISSs). We think that it is unnecessary to duplicate the requirements of the RRFO in school premises regulations.

We propose to withdraw all documents that are of limited value and streamline the rest. It is our intention to consolidate our regulatory guidance including BB100. Regulatory guidance includes requirements for compliance with the building regulations and illustrates how compliance can be achieved.

The costs and benefits of installing sprinkler systems varies with the type of school, its location and the incidence of crime. The Department has published a cost benefit analysis tool for sprinklers and other fire and security measures which is available on the Department's website. It is intended for use by local authorities and schools to calculate the cost benefit for a particular school. A cost analysis of sprinklers in schools that was carried out on behalf of the Department in 2007 is also available on the website:

http://www.education.gov.uk/schools/adminandfinance/schoolscapital/buildingsanddesign/environmental/a0063718/fire-safety-design-guidance-building-bulletin-100

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