IanMartin

Bedroom smoke alarm and fire door needed?

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Hi, Our new kitchen extension is open plan onto the downstairs hall and staircase. So we've fitted linked alarms in kitchen (heat), hall (smoke) and landing (smoke), and fitted egress window hinges to all bedrooms. Building control now want a linked smoke alarm fitted in the master bedroom, along with a fire door, because the master bedroom has an ensuite bathroom.

 

 I don't understand the need for a bedroom fire door and bedroom linked smoke alarm just because the bedroom has an ensuite. Please can somebody explain. Thanks.

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Just a guess, but based on the extent of what you've written might it be due to the risk of not hearing the alarm soon enough if you're in the shower (coupled with the fact you don't have a protected escape route so waiting in the bedroom for the fire brigade might be the only option)?

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En-suite isn’t a habitable room so is exempt. And is the bedroom door more than 3m from the smoke alarm..? That is the requirement. 
 

Ask them why - most are approachable and will explain the reason for it, if they can’t then it’s one to argue 

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It sounds like the BCO is stating the En-suite is habitable and an inner room of which it is neither, so not sure why they are requesting the additional detection. You need to ask for clarification.

 

Is your house 2-storey or 3-storey?

 

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8 hours ago, PeterW said:

Is the bedroom door more than 3m from the smoke alarm..? That is the requirement. 

 

Linked smoke alarm on landing is 1.1m from bedroom door

 

8 hours ago, DevilDamo said:

Is your house 2-storey or 3-storey?

 

 

Just ground floor and first floor, so 2-storey.

 

Thanks for replies, I've requested clarification from building control.

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What is your reason for not adding the extra smoke alarm?  Upstairs where presumably you can add the extra cable in the loft without problem I would just do it.

 

If they wanted an extra alarm where it was impossible to install a new cable then I would be arguing the case.

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10 hours ago, ProDave said:

What is your reason for not adding the extra smoke alarm?  Upstairs where presumably you can add the extra cable in the loft without problem I would just do it.

 

If they wanted an extra alarm where it was impossible to install a new cable then I would be arguing the case.

I've no problem with an extra alarm in the master bedroom, I have a problem with changing the bedroom door to an ugly none matching fire door. I just want to make sure it is necessary.

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Ok I've received this from Building Control -

 

"I can confirm that the fire door would be required between the bedroom with the ensuite and the landing. This would not be required to any other bedroom. 
The relevant guidance that relates to this issue is paragraph 3.8 of Approved Document B volume 1. This paragraph advises that you can not have an inner inner room where any of the access rooms is a kitchen, which is the situation at your property. MSDC Building Control have assessed this guidance however, and agreed an alternative approach which allows this layout if the bedroom is separated from the landing with a fire door, as the risk to the inner inner room will then be suitably mitigated.
The alternative option would be to separate the kitchen from the hall with doors or partitions, as the kitchen would then not be considered an "access room". These separations and doors would not need to be fire resisting."
 
I'm going to have to read up about what is a room, what is an inner room, and an inner inner room, what is an access room. Maybe somebody here can give me a simple explanation?

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Can you post the floor plans of your house?

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3 minutes ago, IanMartin said:

The relevant guidance that relates to this issue is paragraph 3.8 of Approved Document B volume 1. This paragraph advises that you can not have an inner inner room where any of the access rooms is a kitchen, which is the situation at your property. MSDC Building Control have assessed this guidance however, and agreed an alternative approach which allows this layout if the bedroom is separated from the landing with a fire door, as the risk to the inner inner room will then be suitably mitigated.

 

Ok so Building Control are actually saying that your desired room layout isnt allowed by building regulations, HOWEVER in this particular case they are going to allow it provided you fit a fire door. If they are right about your room layout then by requesting a fire door they are actually helping you achieve what you want you build when normally they wouldn't allow it.

 

So is there something  about the windows or lack of windows in your bedroom and the ensuite that mean one or both is considered an inner room? If they both have windows do they meet the rules for escape? Eg clear opening widths? Not above a glass conservatory?

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Did you do full plans approval?  if so why was this not picked up then?

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As @Temp mentioned, is there an issue with the window to the Master Bedroom that it does not meet the escape requirements?

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I note they didn't specify what they mean by a fire door. There are several standards. We have a fire door on one bedroom  and I defy anyone to tell the difference between that one and the other doors. It's just slightly thicker and feels more solid than the other doors. Certainly not ugly. No need for auto closing.

 

 

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49 minutes ago, Temp said:

 

Ok so Building Control are actually saying that your desired room layout isnt allowed by building regulations, HOWEVER in this particular case they are going to allow it provided you fit a fire door. If they are right about your room layout then by requesting a fire door they are actually helping you achieve what you want you build when normally they wouldn't allow it.

 

So is there something  about the windows or lack of windows in your bedroom and the ensuite that mean one or both is considered an inner room? If they both have windows do they meet the rules for escape? Eg clear opening widths? Not above a glass conservatory?

 

 

You are correct Temp - they are helping me out.

 

Ok I now understand. This is the extract from the regs -

 

Inner rooms

3.7 An inner room is permitted when it is one of the following.

a. A kitchen.

b. A laundry or utility room.

c. A dressing room.

d. A bathroom, WC or shower room.

e. Any room on a storey that is a maximum of 4.5m above ground level which is provided with an emergency escape window as described in paragraph 3.6.

f. A gallery that complies with paragraph 3.13.

 

3.8 A room accessed only via an inner room (an inner inner room) is acceptable when all of the following apply.

a. It complies with paragraph 3.7.

b. The access rooms each have a smoke alarm (see Section 1).

c. None of the access rooms is a kitchen.

 

Our kitchen is an access room (it is open to the front door and open to the staircase) and you go though it to escape from any bedrooms or reception rooms.

All our bedrooms are inner rooms (they open to the kitchen access area) and permitted due to 3.7e (provided with an emergency escape window)

The ensuite is an inner inner room and fails to be legal because of 3.8c (our kitchen is an access room)

 

So we either add the bedroom fire door and bedroom alarm as explained by building control, or put up a door / partition so the kitchen is no longer an access room.

 

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23 minutes ago, Temp said:

I note they didn't specify what they mean by a fire door. There are several standards. We have a fire door on one bedroom  and I defy anyone to tell the difference between that one and the other doors. It's just slightly thicker and feels more solid than the other doors. Certainly not ugly. No need for auto closing.

 

 

Good to know, thanks.

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1 hour ago, ProDave said:

Did you do full plans approval?  if so why was this not picked up then?

Yes, full plans approval, but I must have deviated from the plans and left out a section of wall - oops!

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If I remove the door between the ensuite and the master bedroom and replace it with a bead curtain does the ensuite stop being an inner inner room?

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What’s the problem just fit the door and alarm, simple job done move on, if it’s a shit door swap it for a nice one afterwards. 

I think I will have non complying stairs and I know I have a fire escape window that is too high from the floor. 

My BC Just said build a step in front of the window, he knows full well I will pull it out as soon as he signs it off. 

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Is this Mid-Sussex?  It does look correct.  I can understand why kitchens open to other spaces present a considerable fire risk.

 

I am not sure why the door should be any different to the others.  I always spec fire doors throughout, just omit intumescent when not needed.  I also like interlinked smoke alarms in all habitable rooms.  The fire doors feel more substantial and often give better soundproofing.  With fire risk, unless you are being asked to do something very costly with little reduction in risk / consequence, I cannot see the point in trying to save a few quid.

 

Imagine a future owner gets drunk, leaves the stove on, goes to bed, falls asleep on the bog.  Could happen.  Every other week in my house!

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1 hour ago, Mr Punter said:

Is this Mid-Sussex?  It does look correct.  I can understand why kitchens open to other spaces present a considerable fire risk.

 

I am not sure why the door should be any different to the others.  I always spec fire doors throughout, just omit intumescent when not needed.  I also like interlinked smoke alarms in all habitable rooms.  The fire doors feel more substantial and often give better soundproofing.  With fire risk, unless you are being asked to do something very costly with little reduction in risk / consequence, I cannot see the point in trying to save a few quid.

 

Imagine a future owner gets drunk, leaves the stove on, goes to bed, falls asleep on the bog.  Could happen.  Every other week in my house!

 

Or in fact develops eg tinnitus as I have following my nasty flu last winter.

 

I am now in the habit of leaving the warming drawer on by mistake in the kitchen as I can no longer hear eg the hum of that, or things like the extractor or the microwave running.

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