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New Building Regulations and original Victorian doors

Discussion in 'Building Regulations and Planning Permission' started by LouiseSpjwlow, 12 Jul 2010.

  1. LouiseSpjwlow

    LouiseSpjwlow

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    According to the 2010 Building regs we will have to replace all our lovely original Victorian doors with fire doors in order to provide a protected fire escape to our new loft conversion.

    Whilst I appreciate these rules are there to protect us it seems like such a waste to me. We had to jump through hoops to get our planning application approved because it has links with the National Trust (restrictive covenant) and now the rules say we have to rip out the original doors just like that! I really want to explore ways that we can avoid doing this...has anyone contacted their planning officer and been offered an alternative solution? Do local planning officers have the priveledge of relaxing certain requirements in certain circumstances or at least suggest adequate alternatives?

    I have looked into the specialised paint but I think the door panels may be too thin. I have been advised that the door looks a mess by the time it is fire resistant anyway

    :cry:
     
  2. freddiemercurystwin

    freddiemercurystwin

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    Yes, unfortunately Building Control would prefer it that you survive should a fire occur in your property. Yes the coating systems do rely on certain types of doors for their suitability and potentially can look a bit dubious afterwards. The coating systems are not accepted across the UK anyway BTW.

    That aside, is your property listed? Assuming it is not there is little alternative to fire doors apart from sprinklers (sprinklers are not accepted across fully the UK either anyway BTW). I do recall someone on here being able to get regs approval by having a mains powered linked smoke alarms in every habitable room rather than replace his doors.

    It is probably worth opening up a dialogue with Building Control now and seeing if they will pop out and take a look. Most will. Ask to speak with the actual inspector who deals with your area as he'll be the one signing it off in the end. If he agrees to something favourable be sure to ask him to put it in writing. Hopefully he will be an amiable inspector (some are not it is just pot luck) and you can present your case and try to find a way forward.
     
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  3. DOHarchitecture

    DOHarchitecture

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    As per Approved Document B, all doors forming the enclosure to a protected stairway (apart from bathrooms) in a single family dwellinghouse have to be min. FD20. As FD20's are no longer made, you will have to use FD30's, which aren't a lot more in price anyway.

    As per page 23 in AD B...

    You mean Building Control Officers... not planning officers. The Approved Documents are to be used as a "guide" in complying with the Building Regulations. There are other ways to achieve compliance, which is dealt with on a case by case basis and in agreeance with the BCO.

    I have recently taking on a loft conversion project and all the existing doors are standard internal doors with no fire resistance. I have advised the clients all doors (apart from toilets/bathrooms) will need to be replaced with fire doors and we are looking at approx. 10 doors, which is a lot of money! You just have to balance that out with either... upgrading the existing or paying the additional monies for new fire doors.
     
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  4. maltaron

    maltaron

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    I would think that a solid wooden door would be at least as good as a fire door. Can you get a similar door from a reclamation yard and get the fire brigade to test it? The silly thing about all this is that the fire door does not need to be closed.
     
  5. freddiemercurystwin

    freddiemercurystwin

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    Hi maltaron
    The OP's issue is that they do not want to replace the doors.
    Its impractical and irrelevant unfortunately, besides a thin panel door cannot possibly have the same fire rating as a solid 44mm thick door. Manufacturers fire test their doors then they can sell them as certified fire doors. You cannot make your own.
    Not really, if the house has smoke alarms these will wake you in the event of a fire, if you have no way to escape immediately you can at least shut the door which (in theory) will give the fire brigade 1/2 hour to rescue you if you cannot get out of a window. Smoke inhalation kills more than fire itself.
     
  6. LouiseSpjwlow

    LouiseSpjwlow

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    Thanks. I called Building Control and spoke to the person in charge of our area. He did suggest an alternative measure that will be acceptable, with wired smoke alarms in every room, closers on all doors into stairwell and fully openable windows in bedrooms on the 1st floor (providing the sill's are no higher than 4.5 metres off the ground). It may be necessary for an additional door but said he could offer more advice when he sees the plans.

     
  7. DOHarchitecture

    DOHarchitecture

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    I wonder how relaxed the BC department are when it comes to them deciding what doors can/cannot be replaced because I know a few clients would prefer to fit self closers, etc... rather than having to replace all their internal doors. Hmmm. I may put that question across to the BCO I'm dealing with on one of my jobs.
     
  8. geraint

    geraint

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    you can make a basic four panel door fire rated. with a ply on the panels and a coat of paint... on the rest..
     
  9. DOHarchitecture

    DOHarchitecture

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    If only it was that simple. It's not only the door that needs to be fire resisting, but the frame, hinges, etc...

    Providing you can obtain the backup documentation justifying its integrity.
     
  10. JohnD

    JohnD

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    if it comes to it, you can get some nice 4 and 6 panel fire doors now. They are heavy and convincing. You can get some at wickes for £60 each, or 5 doors for £48 each. Obviously they are not original Victorian but I would not be ashamed to have them in my house
    http://www.wickes.co.uk/4-Panel-Smooth-Moulded-30-Min-Fire-Door/invt/190916
    you can also get a fake woodgrain surface which I don't like.

    put the original doors in the loft for any future restoration job.
     
  11. spongobongo

    spongobongo

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    Local authorities have to power to relax the Building Regulations where they consider there to be special circumstances. We regularly have a dialogue with Building Control about situations where sticking rigidly to the Building Regs would actually ruin a fine building. Examples include Building Control wanting double glazed windows and us (planners) insisting on replacement with single glazing. The retention of staircases which, by current standards, are too narrow or too steep are also a regular sticking point. I can't think of an instance where we have failed to persuade our Building Control officers to take a pragmatic view.

    If the building is listed, then the requirements of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act trumps the Building Regs. In the OP's case, it looks like a situation where a friendly chat over a cup of tea and chocolate biscuit might persuade the Building Control officer to take a relaxed view.
     
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  12. freddiemercurystwin

    freddiemercurystwin

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    If anyone would care to read the OP's last entry, a solution acceptable to the OP appears to have been found already.
     
  13. spongobongo

    spongobongo

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    In which case I apologise humbly to the OP. And to you.
     
  14. freddiemercurystwin

    freddiemercurystwin

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    No need for apologies spongobongo. :p
     
  15. DOHarchitecture

    DOHarchitecture

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    If we're going to be pedantic, it's another solution/alternative that BC have suggested. The OP has not (yet) confirmed they will be going down that route but it does seem the most practical/feasible so I'd be surprised if they don't :p
     
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