HC Deb 04 July 2002 vol 388 cc489-90W
Bob Russell

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will make it a requirement that all new schools and extensions should be fitted with fire sprinkler systems. [64304]

Mr. Ivan Lewis

Since April 2001, all new construction work at schools has been subject to approval under the Building Regulations. The Building Regulations do not require the installation of fire sprinkler systems in new school accommodation and the Department does not intend to seek such a change.

With regard to fire safety, projects will not be approved unless they are designed in accordance with the 2000 edition of Approved Document B (Fire Safety), which accompanies the regulations. The Department's guide `Fire Safety' includes information on sprinklers. It states that, though expensive to install, sprinklers can be worthwhile in areas where the risk of arson is high. In these circumstances their use can help minimise the loss of valuable course work and teaching materials, and prevent major disruption to the life of a school.