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03 July 2018
In domestic buildings there should be evacuation sounders in each flat and the requirement for automatic suppression systems should be extended to some additional building groups, are two of the conclusions and recommendations in the Report on Building Standards (Fire Safety) in Scotland.
Published by the Scottish Government, the report says that "Changes are needed to the simple guidance on escape. In particular, in domestic buildings over 18m there should be two stairways and fire service activated evacuation sounders in each flat."
The report continues, "The requirement for automatic fire suppression systems should be extended to some additional building groups. In particular, Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) used for 'care' 24/7 and HMOs with 10 or more residents."
In the foreword to the report, Dr Paul Stollard, chair of the panel for the Building Standards Division Directorate for Local Government and Communities, says, "The scale of the tragedy at Grenfell Tower just over a year ago gave urgency to this review...
"Our brief was to determine what, if anything, had to be changed, revised or improved in the building standards system and the specific guidance on fire safety in high rise domestic buildings.
"In undertaking this work we have been very conscious that the Grenfell Inquiry itself was also beginning its painstaking work to establish exactly what happened on the night of the fire and why. As it is only in the last few weeks that the public hearings have begun, it is recognised that the conclusions in this report may need to be revised in due course. However, some of our recommendations are sufficiently important that they should be implemented as soon as possible."
The report notes that "The Review Panel were unanimous in supporting the suggestion that to assist in full evacuation, in the unlikely event that this becomes necessary, domestic buildings with a storey at over 18m should be required to install an evacuation sounders in each flat. These would be activated by a 'fireman’s switch' at ground level."
The Review Panel also felt it was important to integrate any extra requirements for automatic fire suppression systems completely into the existing building standards system.