Majority of Stirling University halls do not have sprinkler system

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Credit: Stuart Graham

Older student accommodation at Stirling University do not have sprinkler systems installed, Brig has learned.

A spokesperson for the university confirmed to Brig that halls of residence built before 2005 are compliant with existing fire safety regulations, as well as HMO requirements, but are not equipped with sprinkler systems.

A spokesperson said: “The safety of our university community is of paramount importance.

“All university-owned properties are compliant with the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005 and the associated Fire Safety (Scotland) Regulations.

“Our residences of multiple occupancy are fully HMO compliant (Houses in Multiple Occupation), and licensed by the local authority every two years with inspections by Scottish Fire and Rescue Service during the process of HMO renewal.”

The university did confirm that Willow Court, Juniper Court and Beech Court all have sprinkler systems installed.

The accommodation listed above have been built in the current decade, whereas older halls such as Muirhead House were constructed in the pre-2000s.

This follows an investigation by BBC Scotland which revealed that more than 300 social housing blocks in Scotland do not have sprinklers installed.

Housing built after 2005, when the Fire Scotland Act was introduced, are required by law to have a working sprinkler systems installed.

However, no such requirement existed for housing built before then, nor does existing legislation require private landlords to retroactively have them installed.

Therefore, Stirling University is not obligated to fit sprinklers in their older accommodation buildings.

A Scottish government spokesperson said following these revelations: “While we continue to be confident that we have stringent building and fire safety regulations which contribute to keeping people safe, following the tragic events at Grenfell Tower it is imperative that we undertake a thorough and critical review of our regulations.”

An independent report by Joint Economics, published before the Grenfell Tower tragedy, found that sprinkler systems are 99% effective at combatting fires.

This follows reports that a number of local authorities are reviewing their safety procedures, with Cardiff Council discussing the “need for sprinklers” in high-rise tower blocks.

While it is unclear at this time whether the lack of sprinklers was responsible for the spread of the Grenfell blaze, which has resulted in the death of at least 80 residents, it is thought to be one of a number of contributing factors.

Prime Minister Theresa May has announced a full public inquiry into the cause of the fire, and the situation surrounding the safety procedures at the tower, which have been heavily criticised.

The Scottish Government has also confirmed that there will be a review of fire prevention measures for social housing.

Stirling University had previously reassured staff and students that none of their accommodation contains the cladding material used in Grenfell Tower.

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