Windows and Doors - building regs: Means of escape

14 Nov 2004
Reaction score
United Kingdom
We are in the process of building a new house that has bedrooms on the ground floor and a living area above. The front of the ground floor is at the same level as the ground outsides but the back is underground (house is built into a slope).

I am trying to work out what the building regs mean in terms of whether or not we have to have fire windows on the ground floor.

The regs say: Except for kitchens, all habitable rooms in the ground storey should either:

a. open directly onto a hall leading to the entrance or other suitable exit; or
b. be provided with a window (or door) which complies with paragraph 2.8

In our house all of the downstairs bedrooms connect to a corridor which leads to stairs up to the house main door on the upper floor and also at one end of the corridor to a bedroom that has a door leading outside at ground level.

I am not certain if this means that all the bedrooms (other than the one with an outside door) also need escape windows or whether the 'other suitable exit' part in a. above would allow escape via the upstairs door or via the bedroom which has a door?

The question arrises mainly because my girlfriend is concerned that fire escape window are not secure as they don't have restrictors, and this could allow someone to enter the house from outside on a warm summers evening.

Does anyone have any ideas?
Sponsored Links
From any of your bedrooms you need either immediate access to a hallway or corridor that (and has no other doors in it) leads directly to an external door or a fire escape window. The hallway (or corridor) must be separated from the rest of the living accommodation ie the kitchen or living room.

Frankly though, if I were building a house from scratch I'd be installing sprinklers and escape windows in every habitable room absolutely no question whatever the regs say. To my knowledge there has never been a recorded case of someone dying in a house fire in the UK where sprinklers were fitted.

Not sure what you're saying about restrictors tbh?
Hi Freddy thanks for the info, I am not trying to avoid safety just trying to find out what the regs mean.

However I am not going to install sprinklers simply because they are expensive and very ugly.

Not sure what you're saying about restrictors tbh?

The g/f tells me that fire windows cant have restrictors that limit the openings (which makes sense) and are therefore less secure as at night they can be pulled fully open from outside if they are slightly open. I dont know if she is correct but if it is that makes her feel uneasy about them.

Can fire escape windows have a internal way of securiing them prenting a partially open window being fully opened from the outside.
Most windows would have night locks allowing them to be opened say 1/2" at night whilst still remaining locked but I presume you are talking about opening them a few inches? You can have restrictors provided they are removable in the event of a fire such as these I'm sure your window supplier would be able to supply what you needed for instance
But unless I'm mistaken you'll have this issue whether they're egress windows or otherwise. :confused:

With regards to sprinklers you are probably thinking of something like this


however domestic sprinklers actually look more like this


Hardly obtrusive and whilst say £1500 for a typical house may sound a lot it is cheap compared to the costs of a life. Its only a matter of time before they get incorporated into the regs anyway.

BTW I presume you realise all of the regs are available online eg page 17-19 of the document is where you'll find the relevant info
Sponsored Links
Just out of interest, what does your local BCO say?
DD, the question came up after they had shut on Friday so we haven't asked them yet. We are going to call them on Monday.

The regs seem to have been written on the assumption that the ground floor would be the main living floor, but in our new house this isn't true.

However both floors in our house have direct access to the level of the ground as the top floor which is the main living floor is at the same level as the ground at the front of the house and the bottom floor is at the same level as the ground at the back, so in a way they could both be called ground floor !

DIYnot Local

Staff member

If you need to find a tradesperson to get your job done, please try our local search below, or if you are doing it yourself you can find suppliers local to you.

Select the supplier or trade you require, enter your location to begin your search.

Are you a trade or supplier? You can create your listing free at DIYnot Local