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Flat Modifications - Help Needed Please

Discussion in 'Building Regulations and Planning Permission' started by Ducky, 5 Nov 2014.

  1. Ducky

    Ducky

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    Hey guys,

    I'm in a bit of a rut & was hoping I could please get some help here. Apologies in advance for the long post but I wanted to provide as many details as possible for the sake of clarity.

    I live & own a 4th floor flat in the city of London within tower hamlets & want to make some modifications within my flat. I want to remove the door (fire door) & a small section of non-load bearing wall in my kitchen & also remove the door (fire door) from the hallway to the living room, thus having a more “open plan” kitchen allowing some natural light in (it’s a windowless kitchen). In light of this, I have paid a lot of money to a surveyor & then to a structural engineer, both of whom were sent by the freeholder & both of whom said that I would be OK to make the change from their perspective. Then I contacted the tower hamlets building control who bluntly told me that my plan would adversely affect fire safety. After a few emails it got a bit confusing as I wasn't sure whether he was saying that I could or couldn't do it & I don’t think the guy was sure either.

    My question is as follows – How can I get a straight answer as to whether I can or can’t go ahead with the changes?

    &

    If I can’t go ahead with my proposal then I have a second proposal & was hoping that you guys could help me out with the feasibility – Can I knock down the fire door to the kitchen & the adjoining plasterboard non-loading bearing wall & replace the larger opening with a folding door? Is there such a thing as a “folding fire door?”

    Any ideas/tips would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks in advance & I am looking forward to hearing from you.

    Cheers,
    Ducky
     
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  3. freddiemercurystwin

    freddiemercurystwin

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    Post a sketch of the existing layout noting on which doors are fire doors.

    Post a sketch of your proposed layouts.
     
  4. Ducky

    Ducky

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    Thanks for the prompt reply.

    The attached image shows my floorplan plus three proposals. The section highlighted in red in the "current floorplan" is that part that I want to remove.

    Cheers,
    Ducky

     
  5. freddiemercurystwin

    freddiemercurystwin

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  6. Ducky

    Ducky

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    Here is a larger picture of the current floorplan


     
  7. freddiemercurystwin

    freddiemercurystwin

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    Presumably the front door to the left of the kitchen? If so then you cannot do any of your proposals.

    Consider that the kitchen is considered to be the highest fire risk in the property. The only way to escape from the reception room or the bedroom will be past the unprotected kitchen meaning escape will not be possible or prohibited.
     
  8. freddiemercurystwin

    freddiemercurystwin

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    You might get away with shifting the fire door that is currently between the reception room and the hallway to the left a bit (to the other side of the cupboard door if you get my gist), then you could maybe lose the door between the kitchen and the reception room. If BC would accept it that is.

    The main risk will be the escape from the bedrooms. Even though you may argue that you don't shut the kitchen door at night anyway.
     
  9. Ducky

    Ducky

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    Thanks for the reply mate. I have posted a larger image showing where the front door is.

    Why would the second proposal be prohibited? The kitchen would still be protected by a fire door (a sliding fire door).

    ALTERNATIVELY, how about the second proposal but without removing the fire door from the hallway to the living/reception room? Hence all I would be doing is replacing the door to the kitchen with a bigger door.

    Thanks
     
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  11. Ducky

    Ducky

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    That sounds like the third proposal. The new fire door would be after the bedrooms. Do you think that would be a problem?
     
  12. freddiemercurystwin

    freddiemercurystwin

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    You can't get sliding fire doors.
     
  13. freddiemercurystwin

    freddiemercurystwin

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    Yes you're right, I just realised, I screwed up, more haste less speed required! :oops: This may get approval depends on your officer probably. Generally you cannot make a situation worse and that is what you are proposing. Though obviously if a fire occurred in the kitchen whilst you were in the reception room then arguably you will have a good chance to escape because you will notice it much quicker and prolly won't be asleep as you would be in the bedroom and that would be your argument.
     
  14. Ducky

    Ducky

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    Thanks so much for all the replies mate. What do you reckon would be the best way for me to approach the building regulations guys?
     
  15. freddiemercurystwin

    freddiemercurystwin

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    Turns out you can get half hour sliding fire doors! :oops: :rolleyes:

    I'll check in later when I have more time, or someone else will take the baton.
     
  16. Ducky

    Ducky

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    Thanks mate!

    I made a bit of a typo earlier... I wont be able to get "sliding" fire doors as there is nowhere for them to slide in to. What I was referring to was "folding" fire doors. Is that an option?

    Cheers,
    Ducky
     
  17. Ducky

    Ducky

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    Sorry for resurrecting this... Just wanted to know if anyone knows of a "folding" fire door?
     
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