TheMitchells

Plot Access for Fire Engine

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Typical - we just think we've sorted out one problem and we find another.:(  I have been reading Building Regs Part B5 which states that the Fire Vehicle must be able to get to within 45m to all points of the building.  Bu&&er!  Its not much but the rear of the house will definately be over that distance and as the access is only 2.4, dropping to 2.2m at the back, a Fire Tender is never going to get to the back of the bungalow.  And it depends on where they start measuring from too.  Is it from the road or will they allow the driveway to be used?

plot plan_0001.jpg

If I use the 15.5 metre garden of the current bungalow as the scale, its a little over 46/47 to the far corner of the proposed 1.5 storey house.  And now we'll have to wait till Monday before being able to ask either Building Control or the Fire Service. 

Will we have to apply for new planning and move the house nearer the bungalow? Looking for the positive aspect to this, at least that way, I will get to design the house to suit us. although I quite liked the design that was passed, with a few internal changes. 

Oh Poo!!!!

 

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Is there an exception if you fit a sprinkler system?
 

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I hope so but I didnt see that as an alternative in the part I was reading.  Maybe I need go through it again.  I think I will try to get to speak to someone at the Fire Service tomorrow.

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Don't bother - the Fire Service won't tell you and when I've checked it is 50m and the only (arsey) BCO that checked on that occasion tried to do it with a 5m tape and it kept moving...

 

There is a direct access down the side of the property at both sides if you look carefully .. stick another gate under the apple tree... 9_9

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This and related issues sometimes come up at the planning stage as well. The fire authority is one of the statutory consultees but they don't always respond when they are consulted by the planners. 

 

The Approved Documents are different to the Building Regulations. You have to comply with the Building Regulations and the Approved Documents provide guidance on how to do that. Near the  front they all say the following... 

 

The Approved Documents are intended to provide guidance for some of the more common building situations. However, there may be alternative ways of achieving compliance with the requirements. Thus there is no obligation to adopt any particular solution contained in the Approved Documents if you prefer to meet the requirements in some other way. 

 

You will need to speak to Building Control and get an agreed solution in writing. In general Building Control Officers are much nicer to work with than the Planners. If you approach BC the right way you may well find they help you when it comes to bending the rules. Very late in the day I found I had a window that was too narrow. The BCO agreed that instead of replacing the window (which would have been very very difficult) I could just beef up the fire rating on the interior door for that room.  

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What a good idea!  Thats why I love this site.  I was all doom and gloom and it was all for nothing but along comes a possible solution that I hadnt seen at all.  I can go to bed now and not stay awake for ages thinking about it.  Thanks Peter.

 

Temp - ta.  I will speak to them on Monday and hopefully we can come up with a solution.

Edited by TheMitchells

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I'm not sure what's involved but perhaps one option might be to install your own fire hydrant within 45 meters? Presumably you will have to run a water pipe down the driveway anyway?

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14 minutes ago, Temp said:

I'm not sure what's involved but perhaps one option might be to install your own fire hydrant within 45 meters? Presumably you will have to run a water pipe down the driveway anyway?

 

Its not a hydrant issue it is a hose issue - the idea is that using a 150ft hose (yep they are imperial...) you can get to any point on a property from the tender. Hydrants are for refill only as the pumps provide the pressure for a lot of the new mist systems on modern tenders.

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Well, I spoke to Building COntrol and he said - Put in fire sprinklers.  Sorted. 

OH said 'Thatw ill be expensive!' so thats another worry now.  But I am sure I have read stuff here about that so time for some more research.9_9

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Sorry but BCO will say that as it's an easy cop out for them as they aren't paying the bills ..!!!

 

Sprinklers for a 3 bed circa £1k

Gate in a fence at the other side of the garden circa £50...

 

 

 

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1 minute ago, PeterW said:

Sorry but BCO will say that as it's an easy cop out for them as they aren't paying the bills ..!!!

 

Why do always believe everything I am told without querying it?  Far too trusting.:(  Yes, the gate solution will definately be cheaper.  I am sure the vendor will be reasonably happy with that. 

 

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We faced a similar issue over fire appliance access. Fortunately we managed to resolve it through negotiation with the fire service to the satisfaction of our BCO, but not before getting two quotes for a sprinkler system....

 

One was just over £6,000 and the other was well over £7,000.

 

Am I missing something ref the gate suggestion? Access looks narrower to the opposite side of the bungalow than it does on the proposed access side.

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it is narrower but the back of the planned house will be within 45m of thet front of the bungalow at that side.  as long as the fire engine can get onto the driveway, it should reach.  We are probably going back to planning for some chages so maybe we need to look at bringing the planned house slughtly nearer the bungalow?  Its some thing to consider.  But at least there are ways round it.

 

Those sprinkler systems sound hugely expensive.  I was thinking around the £1k price range as its not a large house - only 150 square metres. 

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As you said in your original post, it's 45m to ALL points of the building, and the furthest point appears to be the back of the section protruding rearwards on the driveway side of the new house. Incidentally, just checked and those sprinkler prices included provision of water storage and automatic fire pump (@ circa £1.500) on the assumption that there may not be sufficient mains pressure, so the lower price was £4,800 if you exclude that. Our house is circa 165m2 so not much bigger than what you're proposing.

 

By the way, my understanding is that the 45m is measured from the rear of the appliance and the brigade assume forward entry into the site. That effectively adds the length of the appliance to that 45m measurement.

 

Not trying to be difficult, just passing on the lessons learned from our own experience. Thankfully we found an alternative solution!

 

 

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Just resurrecting this topic with my own little problem that has only just come to light courtesy of BCO asking the Fire Service the following question:

 

"The access to the new dwelling is in accordance with the guidance in Approved Document B1, except for the length of the driveway. Vehicle access for a pump appliance is achievable to within 45m of all points The access road provides a width in excess of 3.7m however a turning circle cannot be provided and service vehicles would need to reverse approx. 60m.

 

As this is a replacement dwelling would you accept the increased reversing distance?"

 

The response is 'NO'.     The Fire Service  "...has stated that a turning circle is required within the curtilage of the property or a compensatory feature such as a domestic sprinkler or misting system should be included..."

 

What confuses me is how does a sprinkler system make it easier for a Fire Appliance to reverse more than 20m???

Or do they just not bother to turn up if you have a sprinkler system so reversing never becomes an issue???

 

As stated, it's a replacement dwelling at the end of a track and no room on the plot to have a turning circle - if we ever want to have a garage. And we (ME) definitely do!

 

Is there anyway round this that doesn't involve £K's on a sprinkler system, or should I just be grateful that I'm being pushed reluctantly towards a sprinkler system?

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Having re-read this thread, and particularly @PeterW observation that the issue is the 150ft length of a fire hose, I wonder if it's possible to use a version of the solution that's applied to multi-storey or large area buildings?  The fix for them is to include a dry riser, which is just a length of pipe with a bore and pressure rating  suitable for taking the flow from a fire engine pump, and which has standard fire hose fittings on each end.  When a pump appliance turns up it just connects to the dry riser with a short hose, then connects either a single hose or a manifold that can take several hoses, to the other end of the riser.  This gets around the length of hose issue.

 

This is most often seen in high rise tower and office blocks, but I know for sure that it's also used in large floor area office blocks, too, with long, fixed, horizontal riser runs.  It's way off in left field as far as being a standard solution, so would undoubtedly mean having a serious debate with the fire service, but the bottom line is that the existing dwelling had this problem already, so anything you do to ease that has to be of benefit.

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Posted (edited)

@JSHarris I don't think a dry riser will help our particular problem as the fire appliance can get to within 45m of all parts of the property, it's just when all is done and  dusted it would be a 60m reverse for the fire appliance which is 40m too far backwards according to the regs.

Edited by Russdl

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23 minutes ago, Russdl said:

@JSHarris I don't think a dry riser will help our particular problem as the fire appliance can get to within 45m of all parts of the property, it's just when all is done and  dusted it would be a 60m reverse for the fire appliance which is 40m too far backwards according to the regs.

 

 

But wouldn't a 40m long riser mean that the appliance could park so that it only had a 20m reverse? 

 

That's what I was getting at, a bit of lateral thinking to try and resolve what is, in all probability, a non-problem as far as the actual fire crews are concerned.  I bet there are loads of situations where they have to back up more than 20m, anyway, in reality.

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@JSHarris Ah, I'm with you. I guess I could look into that.

 

As you say 

 

5 minutes ago, JSHarris said:

in all probability, a non-problem as far as the actual fire crews are concerned

 

If we'd had a fire in the original bungalow there would have been no turning circle and a 60m reverse, but now that bungalow has gone...

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And how much will a 40m long horizontal dry riser with all the right fittings and certification cost?

 

My guess is about the same as a sprinkler system?

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Posted (edited)

@ProDave I suspect you could be right, but I've no idea.

 

I've just been looking at 'sprinkler' v 'misting' systems. I'd never heard of misting systems until about an hour ago. Every day's a school day.

Edited by Russdl

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I'm afraid I've no idea either, but I did cost up fitting either a conventional sprinkler system or a fine mist system.  Both were a lot of money (over £4k for our house, excluding the requirement for a backup water pump and power source, because we have a borehole and pump that could be inoperative in the event of a power failure).

 

A quick and dirty look around suggests that the pipe would be around £50/m and the approved end fitting valves around £200 each.  On top of that there would be a mandatory 15 minute pressure test to certify the system, no idea what that would cost.  Looks like it could be around £3k though, so around the same ball park figure as a sprinkler system, perhaps.

 

Might be worth trying to get the fire officer to visit the site, so you can have a face to face chat whilst looking at the access.  My experience of dealing with fire officers at work was that they were often a bit more flexible when actually walking around a building and chatting than they seemed when exchanging correspondence.

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As per @JSHarrisHave you been down to your local station for a chat? This will have been completed very likely by a form filler. I've never met an unreasonable fireman, I'd be interested if you showed that response to the station chief what the response would be. In effect, its saying that in the extremely unlikely event of a fire, after the event, a fireman can't reverse his truck. Its I think what's called 'gold plating requirements'. You have to install a sprinkler to save someone having to reverse. There must be other options! 

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How about you put a 'turning area' in as cheaply as possible. Then once you're signed off, build your garage on this prepped area..!  Thinking about it, I'd do that. Just play the game a bit. 

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14 minutes ago, jamiehamy said:

How about you put a 'turning area' in as cheaply as possible. Then once you're signed off, build your garage on this prepped area..!  Thinking about it, I'd do that. Just play the game a bit. 

 

Lol, my thoughts exactly but I thought it might be bad of me to suggest it 😉. Guess it depends if the response is available for public view and whether any neighbour is likely to dob you in. 

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