Loft Conversion and Fire Safety Awareness

October 9, 2011 · Posted in Home improvement 

For loft conversions, fire safety awareness is essential, not only for your own piece of mind but because you will need to comply with local building regulations and fire safety regulations are an important part of these rules.

Your loft conversion must take into consideration any new fire door rules. Fire doors may literally mean the difference between life and death and must be installed whether or not there is an escape window in the roof. That means that most, if not all of the interior doors on the property may have to be replaced and you will need to factor that extra expense into your loft conversion budget. Any doors facing the designated escape route from the loft must be fire resistant for at least 20 minutes. An FD20 grade door is adequate but you may wish to consider extending to an FD30 door for extra security measures.

Be sure that intumescent strips are fitted to the door or into the door frame because an FD20 door without them will never pass building code regulations. The way these strips work in case of a fire, they swell up and effectively seal the gap between the door and the door frame to prevent smoke from filling an adjoining room.

A fire resistant door that is left wide open isn’t much use, so it is also recommended that self-closers should be fitted to all fire doors. Your local building control officer will be able to advise you fully so that the fire doors installed by your builder meet the proper regulations.

In case of a fire in the loft, the main escape route, is the staircase so it must be near an appropriate exit point like a front or back door. When staircases, whether old or new, are not completely closed with fire doors, the new rooms in the loft must have an appropriate escape route through the roof, such as a large window.

Escape windows in the loft should be easy to get to and close to eaves level, which is vital for aiding in rescue from the outside. In loft conversions where the floor area is greater than 50m square or the loft contains more than two rooms used for living space, other fire safety requirements may be applicable.

Ensure that smoke detectors are properly installed because they are essential for fire safety in a loft and are naturally a part of building regulations. It should be remembered that rooms above ground level are more at risk in a fire than those closer to the ground. For this reason, the flooring used should provide adequate resistance to fire coming from below. You’ll be able to relax and enjoy your new loft room or rooms knowing that all fire safety requirements have been met.

Learn more about loft conversions. Stop by CompleteLofts.com site where you can find out all about the loft conversion process.

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