Lot Conversion - protected stair - and part B

17 Aug 2008
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United Kingdom
Hello All,

I am in the process of getting permission for a loft conversion and am concerned and confused about the regs regarding the conversion and means of escape etc. I have gone over the regs in part B from cover to cover but I regret that I find it quite hard to comprehend!

Ok so here we go.

1) I believe I will have to make the new floor (which is above 4.5m from ground) 30 min resistance as per 4.7. I however want to avoid upgrading the ceiling/floor between ground and my existing 1st floor. 4.7 suggests that this is ok as long as the new loft floor has a modified 30 min resistance in those places where the room floor separates only rooms and not circulation spaces.spaces What is meant by modified? does iot basically mean putting in fire proofing insulation between the new floor joists? and what is meant by the seperation of only rooms? Mine would go over my existing landing circulation space? what do I have to do in these areas?

2) I understand that regs changed somewhat, years ago when I looked means of escape from a loft seemed to allow either a protected stair or an egress window. It now seems that an egress window isn't allowed any more (understandable I guess if you re pretty high off the ground). I dont mean its not allowed but it doesn't negate the need for the protected stair is this right?

3) I had hoped to have my top floor open onto the stair i.e. at the top just have balustrade around the stair but I think from the regs I would need to put up walls to completely enclose it and have a FD30 at the loft room. Is this correct? and this is where I am particularly confused as recently I spoke to a neighbor who works for a good local building company who have only recently done 6 new build townhouses (3 floors). I mentioned that since I first looked at the loft conversion about 7 years ago when first moved in I have had to change design because of the protected stair meaning that hte loft room will be less open and have to have a door at the top (i.e. at loft room). He said that on the new townhouses they had argued with the BCO to get the door at the bottom essentially meaning that the stair wasnt protected till the second floor. Unfortunately it wasn't him who argued with the BCO but hew knows that was done. IN regs I cant see that this is allowable. Does someone have any idea how this could go ahead - or have experience of anything similar? There are not sprinklers etc in these new builds.

My interest in this is really to make the top floor more open plan as the stair design when walled off in the attic room would make it all feel a lot smaller and pokey. Sorry for length of post I tend to waffle.

Thanks in advance for any advice help anyone can provide - it is much appreciated as I'm sick of reading part B to try and find something I've missed!
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Frankly I would say you're thinking a bit too much.

Fire regs as follows;

Nine times out of ten Building Control will accept your new floor provided it has 22mm T&G boarding chipboard or plywood and the ceiling is plasterboard and not too shabby. If the ceiling is lathe and plaster then they'll probably ask for some rockwool insulation suspended off chicken wire but this goes in before you board so no biggy.

Your fire door separating the loft room from the main house staircase can go at loft level or 1st floor level it matters not. They often go at loft level because there is not enough room at 1st floor level. Whatever level it goes at its doing the same thing OK.

An enclosed staircase down to the exit normally the front door must be separate from the kitchen or sprinklers (££££s) are required (usually) though some BCO's will let you off with alarms in every room.

Mains linked smoke alarms in the hallways at all 3 levels

All habitable room doors to be upgraded to fire doors or the doors can be upgraded if practicable.

This was a good read: //www.diynot.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=137740&start=30
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Hi, kmow this was a few months ago but I though I would add a little as I've just finishing my loft conversion.

Floor - I didn't have to upgrade any ceilings, just put chicken wire and insulation under floor and then 22mm T&G

Fire Door - My Building control guy let me put the door at bottom of stairs even though it opened into landing. He said he shouldn't really but understood that it made the room nice open plan at top.

Fire Alarms/Doors - I was allowed to put interlinked fire alarms in every room instead of upgrading all my doors to fire doors - alot cheaper.

If your still planning to do work then I'd do it under building notice rather than submit drawings, but try and check out what you building control officer is like - knocking on doors of people that have had work done.

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