” …The Observer has learned that successive governments have commissioned and paid for – over the past 12 years – a series of reports into the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of sprinkler systems in the construction of new buildings, including schools and care homes. All have concluded beyond any doubt that they should be used.
Yet last year fire experts were enraged when ministers decided to loosen, not tighten, regulations to allow new schools to be built without sprinkler systems at all. The need to build more schools fast and cheaply appeared to have prevailed. “Everybody bombarded the ministers in education,” says King. “Meetings took place with ministers and they went back to have another look at their guidance and it is still pending today, because they are still trying to hedge their bets.”
It is understood that in March or April this year Barwell [last Housing Minister before the election] agreed in principle to meet the all-parliamentary group for the first time, but the meeting never happened because May called a general election and Barwell, no longer a member of parliament, moved to Downing Street to advise her. …”