The Welsh Government will promote the retro-fitting of sprinklers in high-rise buildings, Housing and Local Government Minister Julie James announced today (2nd April).
James confirmed the government’s stance on publication of the expert group on building safety’s ‘roadmap’ for improving fire safety in high-rise buildings.
While the government will respond to the group’s recommendation more fully in due course, James said she’s ready to accept the recommendation from the roadmap to promote the retro-fitting of sprinklers.
“Hard evidence supports sprinklers’ effectiveness in preventing fatalities, so I am committed to looking at how we can further promote retro-fitting in high-rise buildings across sectors.
“I will reflect on the group’s recommendations, but one recommendation I will accept here and now is that we promote the retro-fitting of sprinklers,” she said.
Since responsibility for fire was devolved in 2005, the number of house fires has fallen further and faster in Wales than anywhere else in the UK.
A full response to the roadmap, including a clear project plan that establishes priorities and timelines for the next steps, will be published in May.
“We will continue to build on our strong record.
“Where possible and appropriate, we will take forward immediate or short term actions, but some issues will require more in-depth analysis and consideration,” said James.
“In certain cases, that will require and lead to legislative change. Inevitably and properly, this will and absolutely should take time – it’s essential we get it right,” she said.
Stuart Ropke, Chief Executive of Community Housing Cymru said: “Following our work with Welsh Government as part of the Building Safety Expert Group, we welcome the release of this roadmap by the Minister.
“The recommendations laid out are a step forward in our work around the important issue of tenant safety, and our accountability as a sector, and we look forward to continuing working together.”