Tick icon
I am the notification bar, pleased to meet you.
Close close icon

Scottish Government closer to making sprinklers compulsory in social housing

Housing minister Kevin Stewart said the government would bring forward legislation based on a proposal by MSP David Stewart.

Housing minister Kevin Stewart said the government would bring forward legislation based on a proposal by MSP David Stewart.

Current rules only require buildings taller than 18m, whatever tenure they have, to have automatic fire suppression systems fitted.

Kevin Stewart said:

‘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.’

The decision to proceed with legislation follows a consultation on a member’s bill submitted by David Stewart.

The vast majority of respondents were in favour of the general principle of the installation of fire sprinklers, with 94% expressing full or partial support.

However, a number of those responding voiced worries about the cost of the proposal and its effect on housing supply.

A submission from the tenant participation organisation, Tenants Information Service (TIS), said that ‘fewer houses would be built for the housing available’, and that landlords would also face future maintenance and repair costs, which could be passed onto tenants.

However, David Stewart said:

‘Scotland needs more new social housing but it also needs social housing that is safe.

‘Installing fire suppression systems during the construction stage will undoubtedly incur some capital cost but I believe that this is best viewed as an investment that will prove cost-effective in the long term.

‘Fire sprinklers will enhance the resilience of housing stock and increased market demand, along with the scale of projects, should help to drive down prices.’

In response, the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) pointed to potential difficulties within mixed use developments of having separate requirements for private and social housing.

The Scottish Government said it would consult in coming weeks on separate proposals to extend the use of sprinkler systems care homes and houses and houses with more than 10 residents.

Sprinklers are already compulsory in all new homes in Wales, following the introduction of legislation in 2011.