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Loft Conversion Fire Regulations - what are the issues

The Building Regulations for most loft conversions will also consider fire regulations which are a combination of ensuring that the proposal has a good means of escape (primary and secondary), early warning smoke detection with alarms and compartmentation (usually 30 minutes).

The Building Regulations are quite strict on these health and safety issues of fire regulations for loft conversions but they can be flexible and pragmatic with regard to the approach taken by the loft conversion designer. This allows a degree of design flexibility for achieving the requirements of the fire regulations for a loft conversion.

A loft conversion for a single storey bungalow is usually less onerous for the fire regulations than say for a loft conversion within a two storey dwelling house. A loft conversion for a three storey dwelling where the loft conversion will now for from a new fourth floor is very onerous on fire regulations mainly due to the long travel distances in the event of a fire from the very top floor room.

All loft conversions forming new bedrooms will be required to install a comprehensive, hard wired, battery backup smoke detection and alarm system throughout the existing and extended property under the fire regulations which usually requires a retro-fit installation. This is where each smoke detector also houses its own alarm sounder and when it is triggered they all sound the alarm on every floor.

Compartmentation of 30 minutes fire protection is usually required for the top floor (the loft conversion) so a 30/30 fire door and frame fitted with a self closing device is usually required. The fire door should also have smoke seals and intumescent strips. For the rebates of the door or lining. This is where the intumesce strip expands and swells to seal the door to the lining to increase its resistance to fire and smoke.

The fire door separating the top floor room or rooms can be located either at the top or at the bottom of the new stir set bottom landing which must also be kept clear of ant door swings. The requirements of the fire regulations for loft conversions with regard to compartmentation also extends to the ceiling, floors and partitions. This means that in some circumstances where an exiting ceiling lining only has 9.5mm plaster board for example, another layer of plasterboard often needs to be applied to the existing ceiling simply to improve its fire rating compartmentation value to 30minutes or more.
































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