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Dry Riser Regulations – What is Required in the UK?

March 21st, 2024

Last updated: March 21st, 2024

When it comes to fire safety, few systems are as vital as dry risers, particularly in high-rise buildings where the threat of fire presents significant challenges. Dry riser regulations help to make sure that there is a framework for maintenance and dry riser installation to try and keep people as safe as possible.

Our law places a paramount importance on fire safety, and this has been in the spotlight recently. Dry risers stand as a crucial component in the nation’s efforts to protect lives and property. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore what dry risers are, why they are essential, and the dry riser requirements for their installation and maintenance in the UK.

What Are Dry Risers?

Dry risers are vertical pipelines installed within buildings to facilitate the rapid delivery of water to multiple floors during firefighting and fire brigade operations. Unlike wet risers, which are constantly filled with water, dry risers remain empty until activated by firefighters. This allows water to be pumped into the system from a fire service appliance, typically located outside the building, and distributed to the required levels through outlet valves located on each floor.

Dry risers play a critical role in firefighting operations, particularly in tall buildings where accessing upper floors with traditional firefighting equipment may be challenging. By providing a dedicated water supply to higher levels, dry risers enable firefighters to combat fires more effectively, reducing response times and minimising the risk of catastrophic damage and loss of life.

Dry Riser Regulations

In the UK, the installation, testing, and maintenance of dry risers are governed by strict regulations and standards outlined in British Standard BS 9990:2015 and the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. Fire equipment such as alarms and extinguishers are a key part of regulations.

Key requirements for dry risers include:

  • Mandatory installation. Dry risers are mandatory in buildings over 18m tall.
  • Dry riser cabinet heights need to be between 400mm and 600mm from finished floor levels. If your building prevents this then you need to make documented agreements with your local authority.
  • Dry riser inlet valves need to be in a prominent position and no more than 18 metres from the fire brigade access point.
  • They must also be clearly signed so that people can see where they are.
  • Dry riser landing valves should be on each floor of a building, and each valve should be no more than 45 metres apart. The heights of these valves should be 800mm above the floor.
  • Regular maintenance and inspections should be conducted throughout the year to ensure the ongoing integrity and functionality of the dry riser system.
  • Detailed records and certification must be maintained, documenting the results of testing and any remedial actions taken to address identified deficiencies.
  • Dry risers must have an operating pressure of 12 bar with visual inspections conducted every 6 months and tested annually.

Where Should Dry Risers Be Installed?

The dry riser regulations from BS and within UK law give us a clear definition of the buildings that need dry risers. If you are in any doubt at all, you can speak to fire professionals to ensure that your fire safety is up to scratch.

Dry risers should be installed in a wide range of buildings, including:

  • High-rise residential buildings
  • Commercial office buildings
  • Hotels and hospitality establishments
  • Hospitals and healthcare facilities
  • Educational institutions including schools
  • Shopping centres and retail complexes

If the buildings are over 18m tall and occupied by people then it is essential that dry risers are installed and maintained.

Conclusion

Dry risers represent a critical lifeline in the fight against fires, particularly in tall buildings where traditional firefighting methods may prove insufficient. By adhering to dry riser regulations and standards governing their installation and maintenance, building owners and responsible persons can enhance fire safety measures, protect occupants, and minimise the impact of fire emergencies.

At Robinsons Facilities Services, our team of highly trained and certified technicians have decades of experience in all aspects of fire safety and security systems.

Robinsons Facilities Services offers a full range of fire suppression and fire protection services for your commercial property, as well as a variety of maintenance services. Trust our UKAS-certified technicians to keep your Yorkshire-based business safe and compliant with UK legislation.

Call 01423 226578 or send us an enquiry today for a free, no-obligation quote.

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