A properly designed automatic sprinkler system will not only detect a fire, but can control it and in some cases completely extinguish it. The water damage a sprinkler system might cause should be considerably less than the fire brigade would cause in extinguishing the fire, and certainly less than if the fire were allowed to spread.

More importantly, there isn’t a history of loss of life from fire in buildings protected with properly installed and maintained sprinkler systems[1]. Consequently, if you own your building, fitting a sprinkler system will be an improvement to your asset.

Key actions for the installation and maintenance of sprinkler systems

  • Employ a Loss Prevention Certification Board (LPCB)-approved contractor to design the sprinkler system for your building. In the UK, systems are designed and installed in accordance with 'The Loss Prevention Council Rules for Automatic Sprinkler Installations incorporating BS EN 12845'.
    • In addition to the structure itself, the sprinkler system will be designed, for example, to reflect how the building is used, what goods are stored within it, how they are stored, and how high they are stored.
  • Consult the sprinkler system installers and your building insurers when you’re considering changes to the building structure and/or usage. This will help minimise the number of alterations you might have to make.
  • Consider whether you need a stored water storage facility and pump house.  If it’s a more dangerous process, or the more combustible the goods, or higher the storage, the more water could be needed and delivered at a higher volume and rate.
  • Factor in annual service and maintenance costs, as well as initial installation costs when you’re calculating funds for sprinklers.
  • Sprinkler systems require regular maintenance and testing.
    • It may be necessary to keep up a minimum temperature, to prevent the system freezing.
  • Involve all insurers and brokers with an interest in your premises at the earliest opportunity when considering a sprinkler system, particularly before placing an order. They’ll be able to advise you about any implications for your covers and associated costs.
  • During the planning stage, ask your sprinkler system installer about measures available to defend against malicious activity and leakage.

Templates for related issues

Fire risk assessment

Assessment form

Fire risk checklist

Emergency procedures

Lighting test form

Guards and safety devices

Inspection form

Additional resources

Frequently asked questions

Find answers to some common queries about preventing and controlling fires and related issues.

Related topics

Sprinkler systems can be a line of defence for various fire hazards. In addition, other issues also need to be considered to ensure sprinklers are the right solution for your situation.

1 'Business Case for Sprinklers' [PDF], Chief Fire Officers’ Association