Portsmouth’s Blade Tower sprinklers decision wins plaudits

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THE decision to install sprinklers at Portsmouth’s iconic blade building has won more praise from fire safety experts.

As we revealed yesterday, Watkin Jones, the developer which owns the 330ft, £30m building, which is being built in Victoria Park, Portsmouth, changed its mind under pressure from firefighters and The News, and decided to install the safety equipment.

It was not legally required to do so, but Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service warned the building, which will house 600 University of Portsmouth students, could endanger residents and firefighters.

Iain Cox, chairman of the Business Sprinkler Alliance, said: ‘We welcome this great news. We were initially dismayed to learn Watkin Jones intended to build the student accommodation building without installing active fire suppression measures, but its decision to reconsider its plans will offer the students who live there far greater protection in the event of fire. We, in support of Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service, continue to lobby to change the building regulations so all buildings above 100ft tall must be fitted with sprinklers.’