Need help understanding building and fire regs

28 Jan 2013
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United Kingdom

We bought a flat last year. It is a duplex on the top two floors of a Victorian terrace in London (2nd floor and loft). The house was split into flats around 12 years ago and there are 7 including the basement flat

The flat has a very open plan layout and has been modified from the original plans when the house was converted. You enter from the communal staircase, through the front door onto a short flight of stairs leading directly into an open plan kitchen living room. There is a door to a bedroom off the living room and an open staircase up to another bedroom in the loft (i.e. currently no door either at base or top of stairs)

When we had the survey done (both by bank and our own surveyor) they pointed out that because there was no fire separation the loft could not be called a bedroom, hence technically only a 1 bedroom flat. We accepted that we would subsequently make the changes to make it compliant. Our surveyor said that it should be an easy fix, either wall off the kitchen or install sprinklers being two possible solutions.

My preference is to construct a wall between the open plan kitchen and the stairs to the loft bedroom. That would create a separate enclosed hallway with an open staircase leading to the loft bedroom. ie Kitchen / living room separated from hallway and thus loft. I believe this will be ok and this is basically how it was on the floorplan at the time of the conversion of the house into flats

I would like to confirm that my plan will address the issue beyond doubt before i spend a load of money on the work. I have read the detailed building regs but am still confused.

Can anyone confirm that my proposed works will make the flat compliant. Or advise me how to get the necessary approvals before starting the work? Should I get building inspector or fire department round in advance

I should mention that the "loft" is a proper story (in the sense that it has full staircase access, high ceilings, sliding doors onto balcony, proper structural support etc) ie not a tiny box room with no windows. We currently use it as our main bedroom

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