Fire doors and loft conversion

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I'm back revisiting this now as it's no longer pie in the sky stuff as I'll need to sort before Christmas when I anticipate to be almost done.

I'll state first off that I'm not looking to compromise fire safety and wish to comply with regs, if in a roundabout way to the same effect - of escaping fire.

Building inspector came for the first visit today (structural) and was happy with how things were done. Insulation visit and stair inspection are next on the cards.

We chatted about fire doors on rooms bordering escape route. Almost every door in the house..... 11 of them. Nice big solid pitch pine original doors 44mm thick. Heavy as hell.

He suggested 3 options, fire doors, sprinkler system and the following:

Approved document B Part 1 Section 2.22 “Where it is undesirable to replace existing doors because of historical or architectural merit, the possibility of retaining, and where necessary upgrading, them should be investigated”.

Please feel free to have the doors investigated if you want to keep them otherwise you’ll have to achieve a minimum of FD20 doors.


This to me is rather cryptic. Investigate. So Google time and I'm getting lots of hits for intumescent paint. Really? Can't see that giving the doors a lick of that is going to keep BC happy. What about intumescent seal on the door? Easily routerd out and no real cosmetic impact. Any info on this is appreciated to adhere to FD20.

A sprinkler system is ruled out. More faff and expense than fire doors (I think). However, I'm now unsure what a "fire door" consists of. Looking at the building regs, it seems just by purchasing fire doors and 3 hinges each, the inspector should be happy. But further reading suggests a fire door should be a "fire door set" to include rated and properly fitting frame/lining. Stands to reason as although my 1925 linings are in pretty good nick, I can imagine a new flat door won't sit perfectly. But to replace all door frames? Christ! Seems like another level of project and decoration to a finished house.

I remember a post back in 2020/2021 where the following was stated:

District Surveyors association policy suggests hard wired, interlinked smoke detection in every room as an alternative to fire doors on each room bordering an escape route.

I've looked and googled this to no avail..... Any pointers? If this is feasible, it's the lesser of all the evils. If I could only locate said policy I could approach BC to see if they will accept.

Help and direction appreciated. I already know how to go the standard route. £2.5k worth of fire doors and hinges and the monotonous job of fitting and hanging 11 new doors I don't want!
 
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We had our loft done on our 1930s semi in December 2021. A private bc firm was happy to accept interlinked alarms in every room and fd30 in the new loft bedrooms. No other doors were changed.

We’re currently having a ground floor extension and the council inspector tells me their policy is for fire doors throughout.

So from my experience it is entirely the interpretation of the inspector, rather than a blanket policy in the rule book.
 
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That's the bummer. Although there is the regs, there are many ways to skin a cat. Just depends how creative the BCO is willing to be.

I have however found this LABC document that seems to suggest interlinked smoke alarms in each room can be sufficient. Might email it to him.
 

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Also looking at fire doors. Reasonable looking 1930's style ones can be had for £80. With the furniture I might be able to get the lot for just over a grand.

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.
 
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I presume you've looked at this - if your doors are as solid as you say then they may be upgradeable. Looks like you submit an "assessment", the technical note and presumably your proposals in terms of hinges and intumescent strips. Also looks like you'd need to convince your BC that you are enough of a "specialist" to do the work.

Screenshot_20220713-083103.png
 
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Yep. That's the stuff I'm on about. I've emailed them for their spec and info to present to the BCO. Also working out a price. To be honest, it's expensive stuff. Especially as it's 4 coats of the base paint and 2 of the top..... Plus seals and hinges. Pretty much the cost of a fire door. But I'd only need to coat 7 of the 11 so there's possible saving there.

Having spent the best part of yesterday researching, I'm coming to the conclusion I may have to take a £1.5k kick in the balls for new doors. But on the flip side, it's done propey and to regs. Fit a few doors in the past. And I hate it!!!!
 

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