Help- roof window now too high

Postby spider147 » Sat Jan 17, 2009 4:29 pm

Hi, I'm part way through an extension to the side of the property. We were planning to have an extra two rooms upstairs, one bedroom and one study. The planners required a steeper roof (lower than the original) on the front of the house, which meant the best window for this room (study) was a roof window.

We put in plans with a roof window, and these were accepted. The window did satisfy the regs. Part way through the build, I asked the architect if we could get away with making the roof higher (by one block seeing as I'm tall!), and he said he didn't think it would be a problem, so we did.

Now, I was measuring up to cut in the roof window, but have now noticed that it is obviously one block higher in height than the regs allow. I'll have to come clean to the regs guys obviously, but I was wondering what options are available.

Could I increase the floor height under the window with a permanent step?

Could I leave the room open plan, ie no door and only three walls, which wouldn't require means of escape?

The window needs to be no more than 1100mm off the floor level.
Any advise

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Postby stoneyboy » Sat Jan 17, 2009 10:01 pm

I'm not sure why you are providing a fire escape window in a 2 storey extension. Suggest you talk to the BI and see what he thinks.
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Postby eljaybee » Sun Jan 18, 2009 7:24 pm

All newly formed habitable room at first floor level require an escape window the only way to get out of having an escape window is to form a "protected shaft" (the same as would be formed for a 3 storey house). This means that all doors at all levels onto the hall stairs and landing areas are fire doors and the stairs lead down to a hall and a door that leads directly to the outside.

It may be possible to form a step under the escape window if it is more than 1100mm of the finished floor level. After all the idea is that you can get out of the window and it is thought that having to get up more than 1100 is too much. Thus by forming the permanent step you resolve this. You will need to discuss the matter with you Building Inspector and get his agreement as to the size and details of the step required.
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Postby spinkox » Sat Feb 07, 2009 3:47 pm

I contacted Bristol City Council BRegs Dept yesterday about problems I was having achieving the correct height of an escape window in a loft conversion on 2 storey property. With the position of the purlin it was going to be either too high or too low. He said dont even worry about it - the regs have changed - as long as there was a fire protected means of escape down the stairs it would be ok.

I assume it wasnt someone on work-experience!

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Postby eljaybee » Sat Feb 07, 2009 7:47 pm

No he was correct in 2006 the regs changed with regards to loft conversions and no longer allow for escape window at anything above first floor level - in this instance a protected staircase must be provided to a final exit. All doors must be fire doors (but only need to be FD20 doors) but they don't need to have self closing devices. All walls, floors and ceiling between the stair and any habitable room must be half hour fire resisting.

With regards to windows at first floor level you must still provide a means of escape window or you can also provide a protected stair.
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Postby spinkox » Sun Feb 08, 2009 11:42 am

Thanks for confirming that. There is a lot of outdated information on the internet. Even the leaflet sent to me from the Council was the same.

Another general point - Do you know what dimensional tolerances a BC officer would expect me to work to?? If this house was straight and square I would be happy to get everything dead right - but my 1st floor ceiling height varies by 50mm and the height of the purlin in the loft varies by 150 from one party wall to the other. In fact its quite a few degress off 90 to the rafters.

This all means its pretty difficult to predict finished dimensions.

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Postby eljaybee » Sun Feb 08, 2009 7:23 pm

That's a difficult one to answer as to a large degree it depends upon the BI but it does depend upon whether what is formed it structurally stable, within table for timbers, etc.
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