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Sprinklers could be installed in all new homes in Cornwall

Sprinklers could be installed in all new homes in Cornwall

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 12:47pm 21st May 2018.

By Richard Whitehouse, Local Democracy Reporter

Sprinklers should be installed as standard in all new homes commissioned by Cornwall Council, councillors will argue this week.

A motion is set to go before full council tomorrow calling for sprinklers to be placed in homes to protect residents. If agreed the move could cost the council £2million.

The motion has been tabled by independent councillor Neil Burden and seconded by Conservative John Keeling. It has also been supported by Jim McKenna, Ian Thomas and Sue Nicholas.

All councillors will be asked to vote on the recommendation: “Cornwall Council resolves to install sprinklers in all domestic new builds it commissions for sale or let inclusive of those homes now being built, thereby supporting the wellbeing of those people who will take occupation in future months and years.”

The motion says that this will not only protect people, but also reduce costs for services in Cornwall.

It states: “In order to promote best practice in housing development, the Council should install sprinklers in all new builds. This will not only promote wellbeing and save lives but also save revenue for the Council, and the NHS when such fire instances occur. Officers of the Cornwall Fire Service are first hand witnesses of local fatalities in recent times and continue to advocate best practise of sprinklers in all new builds. When adopted such positive example will encourage other housing developers to also install sprinklers systems in Cornwall.”

The councillors claim that the move to install sprinklers would provide savings to the council. However a report from officers states that it would cost around £2million to add sprinklers to homes in the council’s housing development plan.

It states that the current installation cost of a sprinkler system is £2,500 per home and that there would also be annual maintenance costing £150 required. The annual maintenance cost for all the homes in the council’s planned housing project would be £100,000.

In their motion the councillors stated there would be a saving: “There is an initial modest cost but the house insurance will be lower. Any home that has a fire is out of commission for many months and the cost of rehousing any family for that period would offset the initial investment tenfold. No fatality means no coroners hearings – which are costly – and the saving to community and public services and the NHS substantial. There were 39,000 house fires in England last year – there would be far less damage if sprinklers were installed.”

Cornwall Council Cabinet member for housing, Andrew Mitchell, said ahead of the meeting: “This proposal to install sprinklers in all Council new builds could potentially save lives and reduce property damage, as well as reduce insurance costs and call-outs by the Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service.”

The council will discuss the plans when it meets tomorrow.

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