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Knocking downstairs into Open Plan building reg issue

Discussion in 'Building Regulations and Planning Permission' started by Gah, 16 Feb 2021.

  1. Gah

    Gah

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    Hi,
    I own a 3 storey end of terrace.
    It is a small footprint of a house. It is a downstairs with a kitchen a Sitting room (both equal sized) with hall running down the side of sitting room to the stairs.
    My plan was to knock out the wall between the kitchen and sitting room but also the hall wall (as I have a lobby). So to create a big room comprising kitchen, sitting room/hall.

    The Building Regs man has said I can't. As I need an escape route that doesn't involve passsing through the same room as kitchen sitting room.

    Is this right?
    I've asked if I can install an escape window on landing and a firedoor at bottom of stairs but he said no.

    Anyone got any knowledge ideas.
    thanks EJ
     
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  3. ^woody^

    ^woody^

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    He's right. You need a partitioned-off route.

    An escape route [corridor] at first floor level leading to a door/window with a fixed metal external staircase would satisfy the requirement though.
     
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  4. freddiemercurystwin

    freddiemercurystwin

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    And good luck getting planning for that! :LOL:
     
  5. DevilDamo

    DevilDamo

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    In a similar situation before, the BCO has accepted the stair to be enclosed at first floor level and then utilising one of the first floor windows (Bathroom better than a Bedroom) as an escape window. This has been accepted where the ground floor is open as well as an alternative to providing fire doors throughout. May be something a BCO would agree on a case by case basis.
     
  6. Nakajo

    Nakajo

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    I've done this a couple of years back with the help of an Approved Inspector, but we had to incorporate a fire suppression system.
     
  7. frutbunn

    frutbunn

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    This is actually allowed for in the approved doc by separating the first floor from the upper floors so that the loft room can access an escape window at first floor, however sprinklers are required to the open plan and the kitchen must be separated by fire resistant enclosure.
    As an alternative to the approved doc you may be able to have the entire ground floor open whilst still maintaining the upper floor separation if you provide a "mist" type sprinkler system to the ground floor. This was something we accepted on a couple of occasions though I think the developers may have employed a fire engineer, I didn't personally deal with them so I'm not to sure if this was the case, obviously this is something you would need to discuss with building control body.
     
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  8. ^woody^

    ^woody^

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    Let's hope future changes to building regulations and new fire safety law will end this nonsense of one authority accepting things that another won't.

    And perhaps homeowners will also change their attitudes from "how do I get this past the inspector" to "how will I be kept safe".

    Passive fire safety is always preferable to relying on a devise or system that may not actually work when you need it.
     
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  9. frutbunn

    frutbunn

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    Yes lets go back to 1985 and very specific mandatory regulations with absolutely zero tolerance for any deviation whatsoever or having to apply for formal relaxations, while we're at it lets make it compulsory that you have to apply to the Secretary of State for a relaxation of certain regulations that takes months to get a reply. Yes that was a much better system!
     
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  11. ^woody^

    ^woody^

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    No let's just keep one family on one side of the council border just as safe as the family on the other side of the border who live in exactly the same house and have exactly the same fire risk, but some bloke who just wants to sign off his job so he can be home in time to watch Tipping Point.
     
  12. wessex101

    wessex101

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    I much preferred the 1976 regs. You knew exactly where you stood and the priority was on health and safety, as it should be. Standards started to slip when they brought out the 1985 regs and the final nail in the coffin was allowing "approved inspectors".
     
  13. tony1851

    tony1851

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    I agree to a point about the older (prescriptive) regs v the later ones, which lean more towards performance standards which can lead to lack of consistency.
    But sometimes the older regs were too prohibitive eg the stipulation that a loft conversion must have at least half the floor area over 7ft high. This resulted in unregulated loft conversions, most of which would be death traps lacking proper access and means of escape.

    Remember 'zones of open space outside windows to habitable rooms'..?! Who cares now?

    (And as for Woody and Frutbunn, they're worse than Milwall and West Ham...:LOL:)
     
  14. ^woody^

    ^woody^

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    I know which one is the ham. :cool:
     
  15. ^woody^

    ^woody^

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    It's OK having some latitude for some things which may vary on site, say foundation depth and soil type, but not things like means of escape which need to be the same wherever you are.
     
  16. frutbunn

    frutbunn

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    There were regs that weren't concerned with health and safety back then protecting property, that's why you don't have 4 hour fire resistant compartments anymore.
    It was actually stricter than that, it was 2.3m over half the room.
    When full fill cavity insulation started to be commonly used about 82 you used to have to get the applicant to apply for a relaxation of Reg C9(2) as there was no clear cavity, the B regs didn't allow for the fact that it had an Agrement Cert, the situation continued till '85 due to the inflexibility of the regs, this is not what anyone wants to go back to.
    Another classic was vented food stores was still a requirement till 85.
     
  17. tony1851

    tony1851

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    I stand corrected............

    cap 1972.PNG
     
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