Loft Conversion Fire Regulations you Need to Know

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We all know that loft conversion is a smart solution to any space concerns in your house. However, there are a lot of regulations and permits that one needs to go through to reach the project’s completion. In these, there also lies fire safety regulations that are extremely important and should be one of your major concerns while getting a loft conversion.

Fire regulations are so significant as they are concerned with the safety of the people. They are not very complicated, and it is essential to ensure your house’s compliance with them.

Before we discuss the fire safety regulations, the Part B of Building Regulations makes it necessary to install certain mechanisms to ensure the safety of people. Some of them are,

  • Providing escape routes
  • Containment of fire from the origin to neighbor houses
  • Containment of fire from one floor of the house to the other
  • Providing access of the house to the fire brigade

Some of the requisite loft conversion fire safety regulations that you should be aware of are - 

  1. Fire doors -

Transforming all doors into fire doors is an essential process while doing a loft conversion. Building regulations state the necessity of the creation of a safe fire door to the outside of the house. It is suggested to have an accessible fire escape route, other than windows for floors above the first one. Therefore, it is crucial to have fire doors and a planned escape route to the outside of the house.

Building regulations have now allowed people to keep doors without self-closers, as some people don’t like the aesthetics of its look. Though, self-closing doors are recommended for maximum safety. Fire doors typically have thicker construction than standard doors.

Historically, it has been observed that fire doors are not very attractive to look at; however, with time, style and elegance have been a part of the modern-day fire door designs. Fire doors are generally heavy, but when placed correctly they can open and close without much effort.

  1. Smoke alarm system -

According to the Building Regulations, smoke alarms are mandatory. Ideally, a smoke alarm should be installed on every floor of the house to ensure the safety of the people in case of any fire. These alarms are supposed to be installed at a distance of approximately 7.5-8 meters from the habitable space.

There are a few points to keep in mind with the smoke alarm system. These are -

  • They should be main-powered.
  • Installed with backup batteries in case the fire cuts off the power supply
  • A minimum of one smoke alarm should be installed on every floor.
  • Smoke alarms of all the floors should be interlinked so that if one alarm gets triggered, the others also follow.
  • The alarms should be fitted at a place away from the radiator and cooking areas.
  1. Escape routes -

It is considered safe to have an escape route through the staircase, as it is unsafe to escape through the window beyond the first floor. Building Regulations state that this route including the staircase, if any, should have a fire-resistance of 30 minutes. The entire escape route might need plaster boarding and plastering below to ensure maximum fire safety.

The protected house escape route for single-storey homes -

The fire regulations are simpler for single-storey houses than double-storey. A mains-powered smoke alarm interlinked at both levels is necessary. Apart from these, you need an escape window in every room of the house on the first floor.

The escape window needs to have the following specifications -

  • 450*450 in size
  • It shouldn’t be higher than 1.1 meters in height above the floor level.
  • The wall shouldn’t open somewhere enclosed, meaning the fall from the window should distance you from the building.

The protected house escape route for double-storey homes -

The escape route from your loft to the outside is mainly through the hallway and staircase, so this area needs to be as protected as it can be from the fire. For a double-storey house, this can be achieved by

  • The staircase and the doors will need to be upgraded
  • The materials used in the escape route need to be upgraded so that they can hold the fire for at least 30 minutes.
  1. Fire containment -

Based on the construction of your property, there are some other considerations that one needs to make to contain the fire. Party walls between the neighbor and your house should be made fire-resistant. Fire-resistant curtains are also a measure that you can take.

Apart from these, fire extinguishers can be kept in a visible and accessible place to help diminish small fires.

  1. Sprinklers -

Sprinkler systems are not mandatory; however, you can install one for additional safety. Before installing one, just make sure to keep these points in mind -

  • They are expensive
  • There should be high water pressure to keep them running
  • It is always better to take a surveyor’s opinion before installing an expensive system

There are a variety of sprinklers available and you can choose the one that suits your budget and the property’s requirements.

You cannot get away without getting proper fire safety regulations in place as the loft will be inspected to ensure that all the measures are followed. Working with a professional expert can help you get hold of the best ideas and measures that will keep you and your property safe.


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