Major insurance companies in the UK are lobbying for stricter fire safety laws amid the soaring payout costs for commercial fires.
The Association of British Insurers (ABI) want sprinklers to be made a legal requirement in all new warehouses over 2,000 square metres after average payouts for commercial fires hit more than £25,000 for the first time.
The industry body noted that only warehouses which are larger than 20,000 square meters are encouraged – not even required – to have fire sprinkler systems.
According to the ABI, fire sprinkler systems are already legal requirements for small commercial and industrial properties in other European countries like Netherlands and Austria.
"This year marks the 350th commemoration of the Great Fire of London, and our approach to sprinklers remains stuck in the past. While the number of fires continues to fall, it is alarming that the average cost is rising so sharply,” said James Dalton, ABI director of general insurance policy.
“The benefits of sprinklers are clear and it is time to make them a compulsory part of every high-risk building, particularly warehouses,” he added.
Since 2004, the average commercial fire claim has risen 165% to more than £25,000, ABI figures showed.
The ABI is also calling for compulsory sprinkler installation in all new care homes and schools.
Richard Rowney appointed to ABI board
Insurance costs to rise after Supreme Court ruling: Insurers