DIY Doctor

Planning requirements for fire egress

Postby recovering_architect » Thu Aug 13, 2020 9:06 am

Greetings! We're doing a loft conversion, and the builder has uncovered some unexpected steel beams in the floor. They can't be easily removed without redoing the downstairs ceiling (for another £10k, yikes), and it's not posssible to tie the new floor into them structurally. Fair enough! The solution the builders have come up with is to float a new floor above these beams -- but that is going to reduce the head height in the loft by 20cm, to 2.0m. We are not pleased by this height, and are trying to find ways to avoid it.

One option which I've thought of is that while new beams would have to be placed above the old beams, it might be possible to "hang" the rest of floor off these new beams, down to the level of the old. This means that when going up to the loft, the stairs would reach a landing at the top with 2m head height, and then take one step back down into the loft space.

The builder tells me that this wouldn't be possible, since it would violate fire codes and not pass building control. He says there's a rule that there can't be any steps up on an egress path. This sounds strange to me -- I used to be an architect in America, and I'm pretty sure that we didn't have any such rule there -- so I was wondering whether anybody on this forum could tell me whether that's accurate or not.

Thanks for your help!
recovering_architect
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