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Loft conversion - fire doors

(45 Posts)
SingingGoldfinch Sat 10-Mar-18 15:17:10

We are in the process of getting plans drawn up for a loft conversion on our 1930s semi. All was progressing ok but we've now been told by the architect that we due to building regs we're going to need a fire door between our lovely open plan kitchen/diner and the hall. There is currently no door there at all and no obvious way to add one without severely impacting on the kitchen and overall space of the downstairs of the house. We're happy to replace all existing doors with fire doors but adding a door/wall is going to be a bit of a show-stopper. Our plans include wired-in fire alarms too. Anyone with any experience on this? Is there anyway round it? I'm feeling gutted that we might not be able to go ahead.

Notonthestairs Sat 10-Mar-18 15:40:50

From memory you might be able to get around it if you install a sprinkler system - but that might depend on your planners.

We've got fire doors throughout - I like them because I can play music loudly whilst I cook without impacting on everyone else!

Anyway someone more knowledgeable than me will pop up soon I'm sure.

PipsM Sat 10-Mar-18 16:34:28

We are doing our loft at the moment and have to put in a hallway and fire door to meet building controls approval as our downstairs is open plan.
However I know some people put something up temporarily and then get the builders to take it down (which our builders asked us if we were planning on doing). We are keeping it up as it will keep the sound down from travelling upstairs but I’m not sure if I like it or not!!

Sensus Sat 10-Mar-18 18:11:55

As @Notonthestairs says, some Authorities (but it's Building Control, not Planning you need to speak to) will accept a sprinkler system as mitigation.

The Regulations are not explicit on this though: all they say is that "Sprinkler protection can also sometimes be used as a compensatory feature where the provisions of the Approved Document are varied in some way", but they don't say [i]which[/i] provisions it can be used to compensate for, or how much they can be varied.

See paragraph 0.16 on page 7 of the Approved Document

It's therefore down to the individual Authority or Inspector to make that judgement.

In short: get your Architect to discuss the possibility with them, before finalising the design.

DonaldWeasley Sun 11-Mar-18 17:03:54

My brother in law has double glazed fire doors between kitchen and hall, they look amazing and might work for you?

Blankscreen Sun 11-Mar-18 22:30:26

Don't temporarily put something up just to take it down again.

It could invalidate your insurance and the rules are there for safety reasons.

SingingGoldfinch Mon 12-Mar-18 07:14:23

Thanks for your thoughts. The idea of glass doors gives me some hope but it's not a simple shaped gap to fill i.e an irregular shape above where door would be that would need filling somehow. It's also in an area where we already have a living room door, a full height cupboard door and an under stairs cupboard door all very close to each other. I just can't get my head round how it could ever work. Time to throw the challenge back at the architect I think - he's not been very creative with his solutions so far!

dumpylittlepixie Mon 12-Mar-18 13:27:33

I agree with the above and get your architect to ask Building control what they would accept in terms of sprinkler system. Could be just covering escape routes or can also mean full system to cover whole house. In my experience it would also be wise to contact a sprinkler company and ask their advice as some Building Controls have little experience of how sprinklers can be used to comply with Document B.

Tika77 Mon 12-Mar-18 13:44:01

WE had the same issue and had to install a sprinkler system to not mess up the design completely. Probably cost the same as internal folding fire doors would have.

SingingGoldfinch Mon 12-Mar-18 14:50:28

Thanks - currently swinging between the various options but we need to explore them all in more detail. I can't even bring myself to look at the amazing loft plans because I'm too scared I'll be disappointed if this building regs issue scuppers the whole thing! At least hearing views/experiences on here is giving me some hope!

SingingGoldfinch Mon 12-Mar-18 14:51:14

Tika - did you need sprinklers everywhere or just in part of house not covered by fire door?

Tika77 Mon 12-Mar-18 15:15:02

Just downstairs so we could keep tue design all open and only in the ‘habitable’ rooms. Still cost around £3500.

InTheRoseGarden Mon 12-Mar-18 17:03:21

Can you post a floor plan?

We were originally told this but they were wrong. Is there no door at all between the stairs and the kitchen? Is your hall actually open to the open plan kitchen?

SingingGoldfinch Mon 12-Mar-18 17:29:32

I haven't got an electronic version of floor plans at the moment but I'll try and attach a photo. There is no door at all between the kitchen and hallway and it's opened up but not much bigger than a regular doorway. As you can see from pic the ceiling above slopes so filling won't be straightforward or neat - and there are doors everywhere - plus the cooker is just out of shot one side and worktop the other.

MotheringMilly Mon 12-Mar-18 17:36:14

Go for the temporary solution or incorporate a pocket door.

SingingGoldfinch Mon 12-Mar-18 17:39:19

Pocket door?

InTheRoseGarden Mon 12-Mar-18 17:54:45

With that layout I am certain you will need either a fire door or sprinkler unit. It is all about having a protected escape route.

There's a company that specialise in compact units for the loft conversion market but I've forgotten their name.

Is there another door through to the kitchen from the front of the house? If there is, you could temporarily block up that doorway just for the sign off. In your situation though I would get the sprinkler system. There's an obvious danger in having your stairs (escape route) open to kitchen (major source of fires).

InTheRoseGarden Mon 12-Mar-18 17:57:38


I think you need a decent water supply. That will be your next problem!

TooManyMiles Mon 12-Mar-18 18:02:07

Could you ask a planner at the City Council? There may be ways around it such as putting a fire door at the entrance to the hall leading to the stairs.

SingingGoldfinch Mon 12-Mar-18 18:43:02

Thanks for all your thoughts - really helpful. Unfortunately there's no other access through to the kitchen from the front of the house and I can't see how we could put a fire door at the entrance leading to stairs either. There isn't much space between front door and stairs and they don't line up! I'm hoping the architect will step up and come up with some creative solutions but I'm not holding my breath. In the meantime I think we're going to have to look into a sprinkler system - think our water supply is ok but would obviously need to check that out. Whatever, from what I've read not all councils will accept sprinklers as an alternative so no guarantees anyway. I so desperately want this loft conversion and we've been quietly planning and saving for ages - feeling very rookie that we didn't twig about the fire/building regs until now but kind of thought that's what we're paying an architect for.

Notonthestairs Mon 12-Mar-18 19:10:04

In terms of cost effectiveness I'd look at boxing in the top of the door opening creating a barrier - with the right glass you could include a window to add light from kitchen in to hallway - and hanging a fire door so that it opens out on to the understairs storage cupboard.
No idea if that makes sense! But it is pretty much what we have.

SleepingInYourFlowerbed Mon 12-Mar-18 19:46:18

You can have an exit route on the first floor through a bedroom window. Has that been considered?

SingingGoldfinch Tue 13-Mar-18 14:49:04

Are you sure sleeping? From what I've read I thought this was no longer the case?

SecondaryConfusion Tue 13-Mar-18 15:07:52

I think you can do a L shape, with short arm being made of glass and next to the kitchen units, and long arm being a glazed door hinging outwards to where your understairs cupboard is. Look on Pinterest for ideas of glazed doors.

SecondaryConfusion Tue 13-Mar-18 15:09:09

Don’t put in something and rip out after - a fire would go up the stairs really quickly and stop you escaping.

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