Bay window replaced in uPVC - not up to fire regs

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We had 2 bow windows replaced - front room and bedroom, one above the other. Our house is a semi, the other half has the original windows.

We kept the design the same. 6 vertical sections, divided by a transom rail about 400 mm down.

I'm getting other windows around the house replaced so looked at fire regs - means of escape.

I've just looked at the opener. The actual hole is only 330mm x 740mm so nowhere near regs, never mind the obstruction caused by the actual opening light. This is a side hung one. Plus it's only 750 mm off the floor.

But to have had any chance of getting near regs it would have had to be 5, maybe even 4 vertical sections, and probably major building work to get the curve of the brickwork underneath to match. Plus plug ugly.

Have we broken any laws? Do I need to worry about anything? This window would only be a means of escape if we were trapped in the room, as it's the highest window and there are others that open onto flat roofs. It's an ordinary family property, no house in multiple occupation or anything.

Thanks.
 
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Mmmm. In terms of egress they are. They're the same 'pattern', exactly, in terms of number of windows, where the openers are etc. But the far greater size of the uPVC profile has reduced the opening size.

I won't go round and measure next door's just now, but I'd imagine that the original timber windows were within regs, even though the house was built before the regs.

This must be happening all the time though? Old timber replaced 'like for like' by uPVC that isn't within fire regs.
 
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Mmmm. In terms of egress they are. They're the same 'pattern', exactly, in terms of number of windows, where the openers are etc. But the far greater size of the uPVC profile has reduced the opening size.
Then they don't comply. They have reduced the clear opening.

To comply the clear opening must be no smaller than the existing.

One has to take a view on such things. Could you get out? what is the risk? Technically making the clear opening smaller may be breaching the terms of your house insurance.
 
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If I were trapped in just that room I could maybe, just, squeeze through the window. But it would be very tight and wouldn't be easy and would probably mean a bad, i.e. fatal/crippling, landing. Other people probably couldn't get out at all. Is it possible to smash safety glass at all? Presumably not.

But I wouldn't be thinking of using that window unless I were trapped in that room. Every single upstairs window is a lot better for escape. Bigger, opening onto flat roof or some such.

Nobody in the house smokes. We don't have a chip pan. Though we do cook, at the moment, on gas (if I have my way with the kitchen refit we'll be on induction hob). The house is rewired and every circuit has in individual MCB and RCD. There is one gas fire that we hardly ever turn on. Boiler serviced every year. Sensible children. One smoke alarm that works. Nobody drinks or takes drugs. So probably towards the lower end of risk.

By the way, don't laugh at the drinking. I remember taking the kids to open day at the local fire station where they did the 'why you shouldn't put out a chip pan fire by pouring water on it' demonstration. Which is bloody scary if you've ever seen it done. The fire fighter was saying they're forever getting called out to fires where somebody's come home drunk and decided he'd like some chips and then just settled in front of the tele while the pan warms up. So they arrive to a kitchen ablaze and a half asleep drunk.

Anyway. If there was a fire and we were trapped in that room it could be bad. But plenty of neighbours around. Opening the window and screaming would have people round.

I'm not going to panic too much. And can't see any way round it. I might try getting through the downstairs window, which is the same, as an experiment.
 
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Fire lapping at your heels has a major effect on ones determination to squeeze through small spaces. Toughened glass will break easily provided you have the right implement. Consider additional smoke alarms.
 
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