Alternative Loft Escape Guide for Inner Room Terraced House Page 1 of 10

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1 Building Control Charnwood Borough Council Southfield Road Loughborough LE11 2TN BUILDING CONTROL GUIDANCE SHEET Last updated 16/11/2010 Alternative Loft Escape Guide for Inner Room Terraced House Page 1 of 10 PURPOSE: This Guidance Note is for the benefit of local architects, builders and the general public. Its purpose is to provide information, promote good practice and encourage consistency of interpretation for all. It is purely advisory in nature and does not cover every aspect of the topic concerned, but tries to cover the main, commonly encountered points. If more details are required then the relevant Approved Documents, British Standards or manufacturers instructions should be consulted. The Guidance Note is not intended to outline the only way of carrying out the type of work referred to. If in doubt, please contact your local Building Control Authority. This document should not be submitted as part of any Building Control application. The Council offers a complete Building Control service, from pre application advice on technical aspects and how to make an application, through to plan checking and an inspection regime to ensure a safe and compliant building. We also offer an Energy Performance Assessment service which uses SAP methodology to produce Energy Performance Certificates (EPC s) in respect of new and existing buildings. Please contact Building Control for any further information: Building Control Contact Details: General enquiries: Tel: (24 hour answer machine) Fax: Web: Further information can be obtained from The Building Regulations 2010 or from the Council s Building Control Service on request. The views expressed in this document are those of Charnwood Borough Council and do not necessarily represent a guaranteed methodology for compliance with the requirements of the Building Regulations Charnwood Borough Council accepts no liability for any claim that may arise in relation to reliance on the information contained in this document.

2 1.0 Introduction 1.1 This guide looks at the issue where a loft conversion is carried out on a terraced dwelling and the stairs currently discharge into the rear lounge. This assumes that the dwelling is as defines in Approved Document B appendix E namely: not more than 6 people living as a single household and only 1 floor level is 4.5m above ground level and no more than 2 habitable rooms are created and the maximum total area of the new storey does not exceed 50m Approved Document B (AD B) volume 1 gives one set of options in paragraph 2.6 (protected stairs to final exit or alternative protected and separate exit), these are obviously acceptable and favourable in normal circumstances but due to space constraints in these small terrace dwellings the option to create a protected stairs is not always practicable, therefore paragraph 2.20 AD B give the option to sprinkler this area, enclose the kitchen, separate the stairs and provide an escape window on the first floor. (See AD B for full details) 1.3 This guide provides an option we would happily accept a Charnwood Building Control as being at least as equivalent regards fire safety as following the AD B 2.20 option for a loft conversion. We have also agreed this with Private Sector Housing (PSH) where the property will be a licensed property for 6 persons sharing (HMO) within the Charnwood area. 1.4 Research shows that a domestic sprinkler (BS9251) will as a minimum increase the escape time by 10 minutes and possibly extinguish the fire fully, but research show they do not provide any significant improvement to visibility. Research does show sprinklers can save life and we fully support there use. (BRE report ) 1.5 This guidance is primarily based around means of escape and obviously other regulations apply, therefore we strongly advise you consult an Architect or similar for advice and recommend a full plans application for this type of scheme. 1.6 Floor plans: We attach floor plans showing a typical layout as proposed on pages Summary: We consider that with this option as detailed below including enhanced fire detection and early warning, enhanced fire protection through upgraded doors, hold open device on a key door and upgraded walls and floors, increased number of means of escape windows provides a level of safety for all occupants and not just those in the new loft, that is equal or better than following AD B Alternative Solution Details 2.1 Fire Doors: Fire doors will be required to achieve a fire rating of FD30S this means a full 30 minutes fire rating with both intumescent and smoke seals, we would recommend the smoke seal be in the form of a batwing type ( as these give least resistance when the door closes, but 2

3 any fitted in accordance with a fire test is adequate. The fire door and frame will need to fit strictly in accordance with a valid fire test certificate. (A copy of this certificate will be required) 2.2 Auto closing Devices: If the property is a licensed property (HMO) then all fire doors are required to have an auto closer fitted under other legislation, but in all cases Building Control will require the door at the base of the stairs to be FD30S auto closing but with a magnetic door holder linked to the fire detection, this will ensure that this door does not get wedged open and will work when required. With regards fire doors unless they are shut they don t work, the fire doors and smoke seal are designed to keep both fire and smoke out the escape route and maintain tenable conditions. 2.3 Fire detection (smoke detectors): The type of alarm system required for this model is one that complies with BS5839 part and will be a LD1 grade D, meaning: LD1 is a system installed throughout the dwelling, incorporating detectors in all circulation spaces forming part of the escape route, also in all rooms and areas, in which a fire could start (excluding toilets, bathrooms and shower rooms) Grade D system is a system of one or more mains powered detectors all interlinked and each detector has an integral standby power supply. Additionally as per note 2.2 above the FD30S door to the base of the stairs require a magnetic door holder linked to the fire detection, see for an example of such a device. 2.4 Fire Protection walls: All walls between rooms and the stairs at all levels requires to achieve a full 30 minutes fire rating from the room side, this is easily achieve on standard studwork with the use of either 12.5mm fire line or sound block board or a 15mm wallboard suitably fixed and plaster skimmed. If the existing wall is lath and plaster this will need upgrading as above, but brick or block walls meet this requirement. 2.5 Fire protection floors: All floors require to be a full 30 minutes fire resistance, this can be achieve by the use of either 12.5mm fire line or sound block board or a 15mm wallboard suitably fixed and plaster skimmed. Other upgrade systems are available but must follow their fire test and also we advise you consult us prior to installing any of these alternative solutions. Floors above the cellar should be upgraded as above but include thermal insulation (renovation of a thermal element) 2.6 Means of Escape Windows: All habitable rooms and additionally the family bathroom on the first floor will require a means of escape sized window as diagram 1 on page 4 below. For example if a window has a clear opening of 450mm the other dimension would need to be 750mm. (0.45m x 0.75m = 0.33 metre square) Measurements are always to the opening area not the window cill, the shaded area in the diagram below. Any habitable room on the ground floor not having direct access to the outside will also need means of escape window or a door. (This is called an inner room due to escape route through an access room) 3

4 2.7 Roof windows: Roof windows should be sized according to 2.6 above regards opening area, we consider the use of escape windows for assisted escape is not appropriate at this height, albeit that it may be possible in practice, so for this reason would do not totally discount it and include the provision. We would be happy for these to be placed above the lower purlin in most cases to prevent major structural works. Diagram Emergency lighting: May be appropriate in escape route if there is no effective borrowed light or the route out is complex and property is a licensed HMO, See 4.0 below Private Sector Housing contact details 3.0 Historic buildings/conservation area 3.1. Planning permission or listed building consent may also be required, please contact: or call (main reception) 3.2. If you wish to replace historic windows there is a possible exemption from the thermal requirements but this needs to be supported by the Conservation Officer in agreement with Building Control. Please contact us to discuss further specific requirements 4

5 4.0 Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMO s): we suggest you speak additionally to Private Sector Housing: or Further reading and some useful links: Determination reference 45/1/200 Determination 45/1/223 Determination 45/1/233 Determination 45/1/231 Appeal 45/3/172 Appeal 45/3/190 Appeals and Determinations minationsandappeals/ LACORS Approved Document B Volume guidance/bcapproveddocumentslist/ BS5839 part Fire detection BS 9251:2005 Sprinkler systems for residential and domestic occupancies BRE report Effectiveness of residential sprinklers If in doubt ask! Any comments please them in? 5

6 6

7 7

8 8

9 Checklist: where the builder is following the Alternative Guide for lofts where stairs discharge into the lounge. This relates to fire only, other regulations apply 1. Mains linked detectors in all rooms except bathrooms including the cellar LOCATION Tick LOCATION Tick Attic bed 1 Ground lounge Attic Bed 2 if applicable Lounge/stair hold open device Hallway attic if applicable Ground Hall if applicable 1 st Floor bed 1 Ground front bedroom 1 st Floor bed 2 Ground rear bedroom if applicable 1 st Floor bed 3 Lounge 1 st Floor bed 4 Kitchen 1 st floor hall Cellar 2. Fire doors on all rooms including the cellar Installed as per fire test a. Intumescent seal items a and b may be combined as one b. Smoke seal c. Auto closer d. Gaps max 4mm e. Hinges as fire test normally 3 no 100mm CE marked 150mm from top, 225 from bottom and 1 centrally. f. Door closes onto latch and engages g. Hold open device at base of stairs LOCATION Tick LOCATION Tick Attic bed 1 Ground lounge Attic Bed 2 if applicable Lounge/stair hold open device linked to detectors and releasing on sounding Hallway attic if applicable Ground Hall if applicable 1 st Floor bed 1 Ground front bedroom 1 st Floor bed 2 Ground rear bedroom if applicable 1 st Floor bed 3 Lounge 1 st Floor bed 4 if applicable Kitchen 1 st floor hall Cellar Bathrooms if large enough for boiler or cylinder or contains either Bathrooms if wall between not full 30 minutes fire rated. 3. All ceiling 30 minutes fire rated a. Attic floor b. 1 st Floor c. Cellar below stairs and escape route 9

10 4. All walls around stairs 30 minute fire rated from room sides 5. Means of escape sized windows, minimum clear opening area 0.33m 2 min 450mm clear in any direction; e.g. 450x750= 0.337m 2 Max height to opener is 1100mm, if less than 800mm toughened glass and child proof restrictor required additionally. a. All bedrooms b. Bathroom at first floor c. Restrictors required and in place d. Toughened glass required and in place 6. Emergency lighting if required by HMO licensing risk assessment NOTES: errors or reasoning Fire door installation guide and other guides are available on our website 10

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