New house: fire safety

We had Wayne from Building Control round to see the house at the end of May. I would highly recommend getting Building Control in early on any renovation project. It was very helpful as he told us several things we didn’t know, which we will now incorporate into our plan of work. One chunk of information that has led to quite a change in our plans regards fire safety.

We learnt from Wayne that we need to create a fire safety route for anyone in the attic to escape in the event of a fire. Wayne told us that if we stuck with a two-story house, anyone on the first floor could simply jump out of the window if there was a fire. However, it is considered that the second floor is too high to jump from. When I told my brother this, he queried why the person on the second floor couldn’t just run down to the first floor and jump out of one of the first floor windows!

But no! According to Wayne, our escapee on the second floor (we shall name him Bob) must run all the way down to the ground floor through a route that has been previously made safe by our work on the house. In order to create this safe route, every room he passes on the way must have a fire door that must meet proper fire door criteria, one of which is to allow at least 30 minutes of fire-free time.  I hope he appreciates our work, as now we have to replace all the bedroom doors with solid oak fire doors. The house is hundreds of years old, and a botch-up of three houses into one, so all the door frames are different sizes. We will have to make bespoke doors ourselves.

Once on the ground floor, Bob must be presented with a choice of at least two exits from the house to safety. Upon reaching the bottom of the stairs he will be presented with three choices A, B and C:

     A) a door into the kitchen, where there is an exit to the back of the house;

     B) a door into the lounge, where there is an exit to the left front of the house;

     C) a door into the workshop, where there is an exit to the right front of the house.

All these doors must be fire doors, because if there is a fire on the other side of any of these potential exit sites Bob could be burnt. How does he determine which would be the best way out of the house? Each of the doors A, B and C will be solid oak fire doors, allowing him 30 minutes of time before the fire breaks through.

I hope he has taken a course in fire safety, so he knows how to assess which door has or has not got a fire raging on the other side.


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