Yes, Approved Document B (Volume 1, 2019 edition, page i) specifically provides for the use of non-standard systems, explaining that:
‘although approved documents cover common building situations, compliance with the guidance set out in the approved documents does not provide a guarantee of compliance with the requirements of the regulations because the approved documents cannot cater for all circumstances, variations and innovations.…Where the guidance in the approved document has not been followed… the person carrying out building works should demonstrate that the requirements of the regulations have been complied with by some other acceptable means or method.’
There are also a number of other alternative guidance documents which support the use of Automatic water fire suppression systems (AWFSS) to meet building regulations:
BS 9991:2015 Fire safety in the design, management and use of residential buildings. Code of practice
BS 7974:2019 Application of fire safety engineering principles to the design of buildings. Code of practice
Disruptive innovation is not expected to comply with existing Standards, only demonstrate it can provide equivalent performance. We have evidence to show it can perform just as well, although it is a dry pipe system triggered by an electronic nozzle, as opposed to a ceiling-mounted wet pipe glass bulb. Unfortunately, when BS8458 was created the authors did not future proof it by considering the principles of Standardisation (BS 0:2016, clause 9), which states particularly for the purpose of preventing anticompetitive effects or impeding innovation, whenever possible, provisions are expressed in terms of performance rather than design or descriptive characteristics. Independent third-party performance testing to the applicable parts of the nearest standard, past experience and independent fire engineering assessments represent three routes that allow the person carrying out building works to demonstrate that the requirements of the regulations have been complied with and an innovative product is appropriate.
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