We are thinking of getting a loft extension done so had a few builders round for quotes. Our house has an open plan front lounge and hall (theres a sort of half hight wall between them),and the hall then leads past the stairs to a kitchen with no door in the doorway between kitchen and hallway. The last builder said that our downstairs was not compliant with building regs and we would either have to insatll a stud wall to seperate the lounge from the hall or some bizaar sounding descending temporary fitting which we would raise and lower as we needed it. He also said this would have to be done before the loft could be signed off. Given that no work whatsoever is taking place downstairs is he talking rubbish or is this correct advice?
Building regs -internal doors and hallways
An expert will be along shortly but
The last builder said that our downstairs was not compliant with building regs and we would either have to insatll a stud wall to seperate the lounge from the hall or some bizaar sounding descending temporary fitting which we would raise and lower as we needed it.
Seems odd to me. If there was an issue with the layout of the downstairs (and its possible from a structutal point of view) that the open plan needed reinforcing then neither of what he has proposed would achieve thatt.
the builder is correct....
if you convert your loft you're creating a 3 storey building, the means of escape from the third storey(loft) needs to have a protected route out in case of fire.
the most common cause of house fires are in the kitchen or living room, yours are open plan ie the stair is open to all rooms at the bottom therefore no protected route. there needs to be a firedoor on the kitchen at least and likely the lounge separated from the stair/hall which forms the final exit route from the house. you will also have to upgrade all the bedroom doors to fire doors on the first floor.
Your layout may have been compliant before the loft extension. However adding the loft extension means different things apply due to the height and distance of escape.
So, if the height of the finished floor level of the extension is less that 4.5m above external ground level escape can be provided either by a window (min sizes and max height applies) or by a protected stairway.
If your floor level is above 4.5m then jumping out the window isnt an option so you'll need a protected stairway.
Need more info just ask. I can send you the regs or find a link if required
I'm with fenboy and creamegg on this one, you may also have to install mains powerd interlinked (if one goes off they all go off) smoke detectors.
Thanks for the replies, have to give it a bit of thought now
have you any plans drawn up? Perhaps I could look at various options open to you.
Well, at least you've found a builder that seems to know what he's talking about...
Thirty minute protected fire shaft required. May be 20 mins, not sure on conversions. Ie fire doors and walls to provide the shaft. May have to include mains wired fire alarms as well?
May have to include mains wired fire alarms as well?
Just something that was mentioned to me when i was talking to trades about my flat and getting a loft conversion. Thinking back this may have been as i mentioned i may end up renting the place out.
There is an alternative option but im not that familiar with it. It involves a protected route to first floor level where you can escape through one of the existing bedroom windows (as long as the window complies to an escape window), and I think you have to install a sprinkler system in the open plan area. IE ground floor is seperated from first floor by fire rated door at top of stairs/landing area and fire rated partition + sprinkler at ground floor
edit: although it's probably not a realistic option for a residential property
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