Last Updated on August 13, 2020Are you looking for an effective way to expand your home space without paying too much?
A loft conversion seems like a smart solution to such a problem.
The only pitfall is that it comes with a lot of details and regulations to follow.
One of the most crucial ones is fire regulations. We’ll be discussing them in-depth today.
It’s not the best thing to think of, how to plan to escape through fire. But, we have to deal with it anyways.
Fire regulations are critical because they’re concerned with safety, especially that it’s hard to escape through windows or through somewhere higher than the first floor in case of a fire.
So, you have to pay extra attention to this when doing your loft conversion.
Read on to find more.
1. The Case of Fire Doors
One of the well-known procedures of loft conversion is that you should change all existing loft doors into fire doors. The main goal of such door is to protect the hallway.
Building regulations mandate that you provide a route to escape from your loft in case of fire, other than your window. This is achieved through a fire door that’s connected to the main door through a safe space.
This doesn’t only apply to the loft’s door itself, but also to any other doors that lie on the escape route of the loft. Again, an escaping window is not enough, neither safe.
Make sure that the doors you’re using are certified by the Woodworking Federation BWF-Certifire scheme for maximum protection.
It’s worthy to note that the installed fire door should have self closure.
Fire door specs always indicate how long can the door resist heat, an ideal fire resistant door should have the rating of 20-30 minutes at least. Here’s a more detailed guide on that matter.
If you have some sort of vintage or ancient doors that you don’t want to ruin in favour of a fire door, there’s a solution.
You can paint them using some intumescent materials, which are basically fire-resistant materials that help you with the fire compartmentalisation process. You can check them our here.
2. Smoke Alarms
Ideally, there should be a smoke alarm on every floor of your home. The rule is that all of them should be connected so that triggering one of them will affect all of them.
According to the building regulations, this smoke alarm thing is mandatory.
You should keep in mind that all these alarms should be mains wired or have backup batteries to work in the case of power outages. Also, make sure to keep them at a distance from radiators and light fittings.
You can take a look at the best picks of smoke alarms at the market, here.
3. What About Sprinklers?
According to English standards, sprinkler systems aren’t required. However, you can install one for extra protection or as an alternative. Just make sure that you have proper water pressure to run it smoothly.
If you’re thinking about a sprinkler, you have to keep two things in mind. First, it’s expensive. Second, it’s better to get an inspector to assess the situation and make a recommendation.
The options are endless and are spread over a wide range of prices. If you want to know what to get and how to choose between products, check out this guide.
4. Fire Containment
If you have walls that separate your property from your neighbouring property, then you should be sure that these walls are fire resistant to limit the damage.
Additional measures might include fire-resistant curtains.
A fantastic way to put out small fires in your house is to get a home fire extinguisher and keep it in a visible and easy to access place. This will not cost you much but can actually prevent some serious fire accidents. It’s even better if you can have an additional extinguisher inside of your loft space.
5. Escape Routes
Another important aspect to consider is having an escape route from your loft’s door to an outside door. Building regulations instil that this whole escaping path -including staircases if any- should have a fire resistance of 30 minutes itself
The standard case is that the staircase leads to the main door and the walls are already fire resistant. If your house is built this way, then you’re lucky. You already have the safe corridor we’re looking for.
If not, you’ll have to do it yourself, this is done by installing fire-rated plasterboard with a good rating of about 12.5+ mm. You can find these here. Ceilings and floors can be plastered too.
You can also use a window escape, although it’s not the perfect solution, but it’s still an option. You need a window opening that’s 450mm or wider to do such a thing. Intuitively, the window should be easily accessible and made of fire-resistant glass.
6. The Professional Way
Other than fretting around trying to apply all these protection measures, you can opt for a loft conversion specialist. Yes, they do exist.
Having an eye of a professional to assess the situation, determine the exact requirements and procedures that need to be done in addition to what materials should be used to do them can ease the process for you.
Furthermore, you’ll be surer of your decisions.
Nobody likes rules. But these fire regulation rules are among the few ones that are really made to ensure your safety and your house’s as well
You might be wondering, ‘why all these strict rules?’
Having one point of access to the loft, which is the stairway, doubles the risk factor in case of a fire. If this exit is blocked, compromised, or not fire protected, you might lose your only chance to get out! That’s why these regulations are so serious.
So, try to take them into consideration while doing your loft conversion. Besides, most of them are mandatory now, so you kind of have no choice!
Remember, better safe than sorry!
Are you looking for a loft conversion quote? Check out our pages for loft conversions Liverpool, Manchester and Stockport to have one of our crew members visit you and give you a detailed quote. We also offer garage conversions.
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