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Need for fire doors on internal staircase descending into new kitchen

Discussion in 'Building Regulations and Planning Permission' started by Rachel5, 3 Jun 2016.

  1. Rachel5

    Rachel5

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    My house is a two-storey building with an integral but separate garage underneath. Currently the main access/exit to the house is via the front-door which is on the first floor level, accessed via an external set of stairs from the ground floor. The garage is accessed from the ground floor and currently there is no internal access from the garage to the house (and vice versa).

    My plan is to convert the garage to a kitchen, by replacing the garage door with an additional front door (the garage opens onto the garden at the rear) and building an internal staircase from the new kitchen through to the first floor. This new staircase would open directly to the lounge on the first floor. The lounge has a door which opens onto the hallway (which has access to the current front door and up to the top floor, with bedrooms and bathroom). No rooms are accessed via the lounge and no rooms would be accessed from the new kitchen.

    My question is, would the new internal staircase need to be enclosed with a fire door either at the top (opening onto the lounge) or at the bottom (closing the access from the kitchen up to the lounge). Or even both?

    The escape routes for the upper two storeys will remain unchanged from the current arrangements; ie in the event of a fire you would exit the first floor via the front door or via an accessible window to the rear.

    In the new kitchen, the escape routes will also be the same - or even enhanced. So you will exit via the new ground floor "front door" (which unlike the existing garage door would be easier to open from the inside) or via a door into the garden at the rear. The only difference will be that currently there is no "opening" directly from the ground floor to the first floor because the garage though covering the entire ground floor of the property is entirely self contained. So on that basis, a fire in the new kitchen could spread to the first floor via the staircase?

    Three builders quoting for the work have told me three different things; no fire door required, one fire door required (at either the top or the bottom of the new internal staircase) and finally that the entire new staircase would need to be fully enclosed.

    I made preliminary enquiries with my local building control, on the general concept of converting the garage (as there are some local restrictions on permitted development if the proposals impact on car parking space) and they confirmed that nothing other than building regulation approvals would be required. But obviously this didn't go into the details of fire refs etc.
     
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  3. ^woody^

    ^woody^

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    Two storey houses do not need any fire doors
     
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  4. Rachel5

    Rachel5

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    Many thanks for the information. Though, of course it will become a three storey house once the conversion is completed.
     
  5. freddiemercurystwin

    freddiemercurystwin

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    That's one of woodys famous non-answer answers! :p

    II'm not sure I fully grasp the existing and proposed layout but I suspect you'll not need a door, care to do a simple sketch of before and after?
     
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  7. Rachel5

    Rachel5

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    I'm not brilliant at sketches, so will try to explain. The building is a townhouse style of property.

    Currently the building is three storey in construction; but the ground floor level is a fully self contained garage with no internal access. Living accommodation is on levels one and two. Access to the living accommodation is from the first floor only. So the house is currently considered a two-storey dwelling.

    Once the conversion happens, all three levels will be living accommodation and the ground floor level will be connected to the first floor level by a new internal staircase. An additional access will be created on the ground floor, so it will be possible to enter/exit the living accommodation from the ground floor and also via the existing first floor level (the first floor access will be unchanged).
     
  8. tony1851

    tony1851

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    I still can't grasp the layout and, as fmt, a pic is worth a thousand words. Have you thought of speaking with your local building control people?
     
  9. ^woody^

    ^woody^

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    Right then. As a three story it will need a protected escape route, which will mean fire doors to all habitable rooms leading onto a landing or hall.

    Someone will need to be able to exit from a room upstairs directly to an external door without entering another room - especially a high risk kitchen on the ground floor.

    A sprinkler and or alarm system may be acceptable instead, but it's risk based and will need to be discussed with the building inspector.
     
  10. Rachel5

    Rachel5

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    Thanks. Detailed discussions with building control haven't happened yet. I was just keen to have an idea of what the potential objections might be, so that we can anticipate them.

    I think the fact that there will still be a direct exit from upstairs (without entering another room) and also a direct exit from the new conversion (without going through another room) is what we need to explore with building control. The proposed changes, in my view, improve access and exit in an emergency; they certainly don't make it any worse than it is now.
     
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