Key to sprinkler success: capture the middle ground; FIRE argues that the way forward for sprinkler lobbying is to engage all stakeholders and place the issue at the heart of the modernisation agenda.(view)

That sprinklers are effective is a given; that they need and will be fitted in schools is all but inevitable; that the vulnerable in high-risk areas such as HMOs and residential care homes are worryingly exposed and need sprinkler systems immediately is widely agreed. What is not a given, what is not agreed upon, is how on earth to achieve that latter statement.

As identified on pg 16 there is a clash between 'traditionalists' who adhere to well tested standards as the only way to ensure reliability and effectiveness, and the 'liberators' who see 'over-engineered complex systems which are costly and installed by monopoly companies'.

And there's more: there is little consensus on price parameters; there is dissatisfaction with the perceived lack of progress within Government; impatience at the "unnecessary" research currently being undertaken; disappointment that revision of Approved Document B will not come into effect until 2005--at least a 14 month consultation period, followed by a decision making period of around eight months, according to the FBU's Glyn Evans; fear of the construction industry and the Government not wishing to offend them; the hideous arguments about reliability still circulating; myths around the collapse of the social housing market giving rise to homelessness should sprinklers be made compulsory in HMOs. …

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