Building Regs

I'm currently having a loft conversion done. My architect drew up the plans and they have been submitted and approved by building regs. The build is now nearly finished, but one of the guys from the loft company said that the building inspector my insist that I have a wall built downstairs, for fire regs. Bearing in mind that the building has been altered according to the submitted and approved plans can the Building regs people then change their minds? If so it strikes me as a bit bonkers having commiteed 25K to this build so far and I really dont want any of it changing.
Cheers
Blakey
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
blakey9000 wrote:

I think it depends what you want to call it - if you want to claim the house now has an extra bedroom, then you have to follow more regs than if you simply call it a loft conversion.
--
jc

Remove the -not from email

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Do you mean that you have open plan stairs downstairs or something?
Christian.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Yes the stairs downstairs are open plan, however I have building regs approval and the staircase was clearly indicated on the plans, the new stairs are however enclosed.
Blakey
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Are you sure you have an "approved" plan? If you've left it to an architect or plan drawer, it's not beyond the realms of possibility that he may have put the application on a Building Notice, or the plans may be rejected, or conditionally approved subject to this item. I'm not clear from your reply whether the open plan stair was indicated at ground floor level. If not, it may have just been assumed by the plan checker that it was enclosed.
If none of the above apply, and you have fully approved plans showing an open plan layout, then the Council can't take enforcement action against you for failing to provide an enclosure (except by way of an injunction to the High Court for a dangerous building). However they can withhold a completion certificate on the basis that it doesn't comply with the requirements.
However, the lack of an enclosure at ground floor level is so fundamental to the safety of a loft conversion that any competent architect or Building Control Surveyor should have picked it up on day one. It's one of the first questions I ask when I'm asked, "what do I need for a loft conversion?".
--
Hugo Nebula
"The fact that no-one on the internet wants a piece of this
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Plans are definitly approved I have the paperwork from the local authority and their are no conditions to its approval.
Yes the ground floor stairs are open plan into my living room, which leads up to first floor landing with new fire door to lobby at bottom of (new enclosed)stairs to loft, also in lobby is another fire door to another room, with window which is apparently a means of escape.
Blakey
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

A now I see !!! If you already have proper fire doors at the appropriate points on the stair-well, then you're OK. As long as the new part of the staircase is not fully open all the way down to the open plan part, then you're sorted.
--
http://www.basecuritysystems.no-ip.com /

Outgoing mail is certified Virus Free.
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

points
staircase is

The way I read them (I may be wrong) is that the stairs are the primary escape route and your escape route should be protected all the way to one of these two points.
a) An outside door b) A point where there are now two independent exit paths, each of which may be unprotected, but the fact that there are two doesn't matter.
(b) is most likely to arise if the stairs lead to a downstairs hall, but the outside doors are elsewhere, such as a back door through the kitchen and a front door through the lounge.
This doesn't just apply to new parts of the staircase, but the entire staircase that is required for escape during a fire.
Christian.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Tue, 15 Jun 2004 13:59:17 +0100, "Christian McArdle"

So what happens if you have the classical design of house with the stairs going up from a front hall or passage, doors to all downstairs rooms from it and the front door also opening directly from it?
Is the assumption that a fire downstairs would not start in the hall and that all room doors would be shut, thus containing the fire for a short while?
Do the stairs from the ground floor then have to be boxed in?
If that's the case, how would enclosing the stairs help if they are open at the bottom anyway, or is this all about in effect creating an enclosed area out to the front door in cases where the stairs exit (e.g.) directly from the lounge?
I don't follow the intent here.....
.andy
To email, substitute .nospam with .gl
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Yes. Which is why closers are required. Should the fire start in the hall (which is exceedingly rare) or the self closers have been defeated (very common), the secondary escape method comes into force. This is having a 30 minute fire protected loft with escape window that you may be rescued by firefighters through.

Normally. The staircase doesn't need protecting from hallways. But it does need protecting from rooms, unless it is using the 2 escape routes to outside door method.

The idea is that you usually have a protected route (or 2 independent unprotected ones) to an outside door so that you may escape. If using protection instead of doubling up, it shouldn't be open plan into a room which could possibly be on fire. In the unlikely event that the protected route is breached, you are required to have a loft zone protected for 30 minutes, long enough for the fire brigade to pluck you from the mandatory escape window, which must be easily reachable by a ladder.
It is intended that the ladder is provided by emergency services, although a rope escape ladder can't be a bad idea and I reckon should be mandatory, really. It could easily fit in a purpose built cupboard fitted in the escape window soffit.
Christian.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Tue, 15 Jun 2004 14:45:30 +0100, "Christian McArdle"

OK, makes sense. This is basically protecting the loft from the rest of the house.

So what does boxing it in at the sides achieve unless there is also a door at the bottom? If the ground to first floor stairs were fully boxed in with door at the bottom as well then you would also be protecting the first floor.

OK, that makes sense, but then I still don't follow what boxing in the ground to first floor stairs does. Is the point that this needs to be done, and with a door at the bottom if these stairs come from a room rather than a hall or passage?

I can follow the logic of protecting the stairs from first floor to loft for all the reasons described, but what is the logic of doing things to the ground to first floor stairs? Arguably it is improving the situation for people on the first floor in that that becomes a protected area as well, but I don't follow the logic in connecting it to a loft conversion. Is it simply that it's an opportunity for an upgrade because of other work being done?
I guess I am missing the point of why a ground to first floor stairs change is needed.

.andy
To email, substitute .nospam with .gl
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

If there is a fire on the ground floor, say a dropped cigarette or burnt out candle in an open plan lounge, the hallways and stairs must not be compromised by having those stairs go through the area. The lounge occupants can flee, the door closes behind (autoclosing) and the loft occupants can still descend the stairs and can still get out of the front door, despite the raging inferno in the lounge behind the stairway panelling.
If the ground floor stairs are open plan to the room, then the fire will disable the entire staircase rapidly. Smoke will rise, even preventing movement upstairs.
Apparently very few fires happen in stairs and hallways (arson being an exception). You need to protect the stairs and hallways from bedrooms, lounges and kitchens, where the fires start. You need to protect the ground floor stairs, as the stairs are pretty useless as an escape route if they are on fire (unless you have a second set, of course, which is why 2 independent unprotected main escape routes are permitted).
The general principle is that it is better to bolt out of the front door than huddle together in the loft waiting for help that might come too late, because someone ruined the 30min resistant ceiling with halogen downlighters and the firemen are on strike.
Christian.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Reminds me of my school. Some of the higher windows had a kind of fire escape thing whose name I've completely forgotten. It looked like a giant expanding tape measure fitted to the ceiling with a single rung seat attached to the rope which pulled out if it. You sat on the rung and climbed out of the window. There was a speed governer which limited your rate of decent. When you reached the ground, you climbed off the rung and it rewound by spring ready for the next person.
There was much speculation if the things would actually work, in particular if the speed governers which actually limit the speed any more at all (they were old even back then). One day, one of the teachers decided to give one of them a try, with quite a few onlookers on the ground outside. The device actually worked very well, giving quite a nice rate of decent. Then came the snag -- it stopped about 15' short of the ground as the rope wasn't long enough! Whilst one teacher was left dangling in mid-air, several people went off in search of ladders. Eventually, the teacher was rescued. Sortly after that, whey were all removed and replaced with iron fire escapes.
Ah the name -- it's come back to me now, they were called Davy Escapes.
--
Andrew Gabriel

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I know we're still talking 'theoretically' here, but if the latter is the case, does that mean that the punter just has to grin and bear it, and pick up the tab for undoing work done so far, and redoing it to the appropriate standard?
I had a slightly similar situation myself, in that I am doing my current project under a building notice. The BCO has been round many times to inspect, and on one visit, said 'did you put sound insulation in those partition walls?' (she'd seen them previously, before the plasterboard was fitted) 'Er, no, did I need to...' It wasn't a big deal to put right, because said walls hadn't yet been skimmed, so was just a simple matter of unscrewing the plasterboard panels. However, the experience did get me wondering what else might suddenly strike her to check up on in future visits, before I get my completion certificate. I did ask her at the time if there was anything else I should be aware of - don't think so, she said.
Is this just a risk/side-effect of me being a cheapskate and not doing the job on a full plan?
David
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 15 Jun 2004 01:35:53 -0700, a particular chimpanzee named snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (Lobster) randomly hit the keyboard and produced:

Perhaps you should have just nodded your head and lied. It's a little game we have to play sometimes, like, "Have you put a cavity tray in above the new lean to roof?" "No, it's too fiddly and time consuming." "Wrong answer, try again".
A BCO will make reasonable efforts to check aspects of the construction, but we're not Clerks of Works; we can't be on site every day, so we have to take peoples' word for what they've done. The other side to that is that the BCO can abrogate responsibility for something which was said to be done but wasn't.

Without full plans, neither of you can be certain that you've covered everything.

One of them, yes.
--
Hugo Nebula
"The fact that no-one on the internet wants a piece of this
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I did have full plans, thats the whole point.
(Lobster) randomly hit the keyboard and

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
(Lobster) randomly hit the keyboard and

Hugo, I'm shocked...!
It did occur to me; however it was not a particularly awkward one to comply with, so I did the Right Thing. Anyway, I was fairly happy with the visit all told; the other thing the BCO was inspecting was the sound insulation which she'd requested I fit to my party wall, and I was then in the middle of installing it. Now, unfortunately the gas and electric meter are fixed to the same wall, and enter the property flush with the wall. With rising horror I realised that full compliance would mean moving both meters and service entry points, digging up the pavement to do so. She considered this my setup for what seemed like ages, then said, 'nah, OK you can leave that insulation off that bit'. Phew...
As a BCO you'd know better than me, but isn't there an element of trust; as in, if the BCO catches out a builder telling porkies, (s)he's never going to believe him again? And I'll bet you've found yourself demanding that hidden foundations/lintels etc are re-exposed for inspection, despite all protestations that the specs are OK?!
I regard dealing with BCOs a bit like dealing with my teenaged daughter; but only in so far as I think it's best to save my arguments for the really serious stuff!
David
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 16 Jun 2004 12:52:47 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (Lobster) wrote:

If you can deal with a teenaged daughter, then there is no challenge that will be beyond your diplomatic and negotiating skills.
.andy
To email, substitute .nospam with .gl
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
(Lobster) randomly hit the keyboard and

Hugo, I'm shocked...!
It did occur to me; however it was not a particularly awkward one to comply with, so I did the Right Thing. Anyway, I was fairly happy with the visit all told; the other thing the BCO was inspecting was the sound insulation which she'd requested I fit to my party wall, and I was then in the middle of installing it. Now, unfortunately the gas and electric meter are fixed to the same wall, and enter the property flush with the wall. With rising horror I realised that full compliance would mean moving both meters and service entry points, digging up the pavement to do so. She considered this my setup for what seemed like ages, then said, 'nah, OK you can leave that insulation off that bit'. Phew...
As a BCO you'd know better than me, but isn't there an element of trust; as in, if the BCO catches out a builder telling porkies, (s)he's never going to believe him again? And I'll bet you've found yourself demanding that hidden foundations/lintels etc are re-exposed for inspection, despite all protestations that the specs are OK?!
I regard dealing with BCOs a bit like dealing with my teenaged daughter; but only in so far as I think it's best to save my arguments for the really serious stuff!
David
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
(Lobster) randomly hit the keyboard and

Hugo, I'm shocked...!
It did occur to me; however it was not a particularly awkward one to comply with, so I did the Right Thing. Anyway, I was fairly happy with the visit all told; the other thing the BCO was inspecting was the sound insulation which she'd requested I fit to my party wall, and I was then in the middle of installing it. Now, unfortunately the gas and electric meter are fixed to the same wall, and enter the property flush with the wall. With rising horror I realised that full compliance would mean moving both meters and service entry points, digging up the pavement to do so. She considered this my setup for what seemed like ages, then said, 'nah, OK you can leave that insulation off that bit'. Phew...
As a BCO you'd know better than me, but isn't there an element of trust; as in, if the BCO catches out a builder telling porkies, (s)he's never going to believe him again? And I'll bet you've found yourself demanding that hidden foundations/lintels etc are re-exposed for inspection, despite all protestations that the specs are OK?!
I regard dealing with BCOs a bit like dealing with my teenaged daughter; but only in so far as I think it's best to save my arguments for the really serious stuff!
David
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.