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2019 Para:UNSPECIFIED Vehicle access for fire appliances

Firefighters need to be able to reach a fire quickly with their equipment. Physical safety and lives of both the firefighters and the occupants of the building, can be jeopardised by delays in reaching the fire.
Requirement B5(2) of the England and Wales Building Regulations states that ‘reasonable provision shall be made within the site of the building to enable fire appliances to gain access to the building’. The requirements will be met if ‘there is sufficient means of external access to enable fire appliances to be brought near to the building for effective use’.
Firefighting facilities should include, where appropriate:
(a) Provision of vehicular access for appliances to the perimeter of the building or site (b) Provision of easy and speedy entry to the site and the interior of the building for firefighters and their equipment (c) Provision of and access to sufficient supplies of a firefighting medium (usually water), as determined by a risk assessment. General guidance is given below. If it is proposed to deviate from this, you should seek advice from your NHBC surveyor.

HB2876 1 11/15 19 Para:UNSPECIFIED Avoiding common fire safety issues

Our review shows that, since 2011, half of those claims relating to warranty cover for Building Regulation non-compliance have been related to fire safety. This review has identified four principal areas where improvements can be made: n Cavity barriers and firestopping. n Firestopping of service penetrations. n The use of intumescent collars and wraps to service penetrations. n Self-closing fire doors. The guidance discussed in this article focuses on the above, drawing on examples of interventions made during construction.

10.1/05 Garages Para:UNSPECIFIED Carports - fire separation

Paragraphs 5.4, 5.5 and Diagram 10 in Approved Document B Vol 1 (2006) (England & Wales) refers to separation between a house and a garage. Is the same standard of separation required between a house and a carport?

10.1/4 Garages Para:UNSPECIFIED Compartment walls between garages

With regard to fire protection and security, how should the compartment walls be constructed between private garages in garage blocks with pitched roofs?

6.7/08 Doors, windows and glazing Para:UNSPECIFIED Egress windows and conservatories

In England and Wales can conservatories be located beneath first floor emergency egress windows in two storey properties?

6.7/11 Doors, windows and glazing Para:UNSPECIFIED Fire doors to bathrooms

Is a fire door required to a bathroom within a three storey dwelling, where the bathroom can be accessed from both the stairwell and an adjoining bedroom?

6.3/01 Internal walls Para:UNSPECIFIED Firestopping to garage walls

Should the wall between an integral garage and the house be built up between the floor joists to the underside of the floor decking?

6.1/23 External masonry walls Para:UNSPECIFIED Lintels to walls over drive-through access to houses (England & Wales only)

Does the underside of lintels at each end of a drive-through between two linked houses need fire protection?

HB1674 09/06 Pitched roofs Para:UNSPECIFIED Loft hatches and fire resistance

In houses of three or more storeys, are half-hour fire resistant loft hatches/roof void access panels required in the ceiling below a roof space or to roof voids to rooms in the roof?

Timber and concrete upper floors Para:UNSPECIFIED Recessed light fittings in ceilings to intermediate floors in houses

What should be considered when installing recessed light fittings (downlighters) in plasterboard ceilings, to intermediate floors in houses, with regards to fire resistance and isolation from insulation?

6.3/07 Internal walls Para:UNSPECIFIED Sockets and switches in light steel framed separating walls

Is it acceptable to install recessed electrical sockets and switches in light steel framed separating walls?

TBA TBA Para:UNSPECIFIED Now that BS9999 has replaced the BS5588 series of standards, which standard should I now use?

When an Approved Document makes reference to a named standard (listed in the appendix of the Approved Document), this is the relevant document to use. However, if this version of the standard has been revised or updated by the issuing standards body, the new version may be used as a source of guidance provided it continues to address the relevant requirements of the Regulations.

Volume 2 of Approved Document B currently refers to the guidance in several of the BS5588 series of standards as a means of showing compliance with the requirements of Part B (Fire safety) of Schedule 1 to the Building Regulations. Until such time as the Approved Document is amended, these references remain part of the guidance approved under section 6 of the 1984 Building Act. As such, compliance with the guidance referred to would confer a legal presumption of conformity with the relevant requirements of Part B. Following any other guidance would not confer that legal presumption.

Where designers choose to follow the relevant guidance in BS9999 they will need to satisfy themselves and the relevant authorities that this guidance adequately addresses the requirements of Part B. It is strongly recommended in such cases that designers discuss their proposals with NHBC before starting work.

TBA TBA Para:UNSPECIFIED Are alternative escape windows required at any level in a three or four storey house?

No. This may differ, however, if the house has inner rooms.

TBA TBA Para:UNSPECIFIED What are the considerations for metal framed suspended ceilings in protected entrance halls to flats?

If the metal framed suspended ceilings are erected and lined with plasterboard prior to the construction of the internal partitions, consideration would need to be given to the prevention of the fire spreading within the void and over the partitions enclosing the protected entrance halls.

The installation of 30 minutes cavity barriers positioned vertically in line with partitions surrounding the protected entrance halls. Or a 30 minute horizontal cavity barrier installed throughout the whole of the flat compartment. Considerations should be given to the recessed lights that are fitted with hoods and extract duct penetrations should be suitably fire dampened.

TBA TBA Para:UNSPECIFIED What do I need to consider when designing mechanical ventilation to basement car parks?

The three traditional approaches to providing ventilation to car parks, taken from Approved Document B - Fire Safety, are:

Open sided (where there are no basement storeys and high levels of natural ventilation can be achieved) - Each storey should be naturally ventilated by permanent openings equal to 1/20th (5%) of the floor area, half of which is arranged equally on opposing walls.

Natural Ventilation - Where car parks that are not deemed to be considered 'open sided' are provided with more limited natural ventilation, permanent openings equivalent to 1/40th (2.5%) of the floor area are required, of which at least half (1/80th) should be arranged equally on opposing walls to achieve cross ventilation. Smoke vents at ceiling level may be used as an alternative to permanent openings in the perimeter walls however their distribution and equivalent ventilation area must be arranged to provide a through draught.

Mechanical Ventilation - Must be designed to run at a minimum 6 air changes per hour, increasing to 10 air changes per hour in the event of a fire, with an even distribution of high and low level extract points. It must also be provided with an independent power supply, designed to operate in event of failure of the main power supply. It should be designed to run in two parts, each capable of extracting 50% of the design extract rate. Have extract fans rated to run at 300 degrees centigrade for a minimum 60 minutes, combined with ductwork and fixings constructed of materials with a melting point not less than 800 degrees centigrade and ensure that the smoke discharge points are sited so as to avoid any risk from smoke being recalculated into building or affecting means of escape. Modern alternatives can also be considered (SHEVS).

TBA TBA Para:UNSPECIFIED Are the European classes for surface spread of flame ratings equivalent to the British classes?

The first point to make is that there are no direct equivalences between the Euro classes and the British classes. The reason for this is simply that the British and European tests measure different things. That does not make them necessarily a better or worse material.

Use the following table as a guide:

A1 for Non Combustible

A2 for Limited Combustibility

B for Class 0

C for Class 1

D for Class 3

E for Class 4

F for No performance determined

The above is only a guide and it really depends on the material. To get a European classification you have to do a European test and for a British classification, a British test.

TBA TBA Para:UNSPECIFIED I am undertaking shop fitting work and there are existing unprotected steel beams in the ceiling void. Do I need to add fire protection?

If there is no change of use or structural alteration and the situation regarding fire protection is no worse than it was before, then building regulations do not apply here as they are not generally applied retrospectively. Therefore Building Control should not require you to upgrade the fire resistance to the beams.

However if the building is a workplace the client or tenant must carry out a Fire Risk Assessment and this should include structural fire protection issues if visibly found to be defective and where reasonably easy to improve matters. In this case therefore the client/ tenant should include for 1 hour fire resistance to be added (for buildings up to 18m in height).

TBA TBA Para:UNSPECIFIED For dwellinghouses, where is the 45m hose distance for fire brigade access measured?

From a turning circle position or site entrance a further 20m driveway distance is permissible, from which point the 45m hose distance is measured.

TBA TBA Para:UNSPECIFIED For a block of flats fitted with a dry (or wet) riser, how close should the fire service tender be able to get to the entrance of the building?

A fire service appliance should be able to park within 18m of a dry (or wet) riser inlet, and be able to clearly see the inlet position. Long lengths of horizontal main are not usually considered an acceptable alternative solution.

TBA TBA Para:UNSPECIFIED Are fire alarms or detection systems required to common parts of blocks of flats?

Requirement B1 requires 'appropriate provisions for early warning of fire'. Due to the high degree of compartmentation in residential developments the fire safety approach in Part B assumes only the occupants of the flat where the fire starts will initially evacuate. The occupants of other flats will remain in place and will only evacuate if the fire brigade consider it necessary after their arrival. There is therefore no need for an alarm system to notify all residents of a fire and there is generally no need for a fire detection system in the common areas of blocks of flats.

There may however be a need for detection in common areas to activate fire protection systems, such as automatic opening vents and fire doors on hold open devices, but these detectors should not be connected to alarm sounders.

Communal alarm systems may be appropriate where the building contains sheltered housing and centralised management controls are in place.

TBA TBA Para:UNSPECIFIED When would a large hallway in a dwelling house be considered a habitable room for the purposes of Part B?

The following factors can be considered when deciding if a hallway is a habitable room:
1. Hall size - is there potential for the space to provide living / habitable accommodation, eg. dining table, lounge chairs etc.?

2. Are there other rooms available for the range of living purposes, ( ie. lounge, dining room, study?). Similarly, what type of accommodation is appropriate for the dwelling.

3. The arrangement of doors giving access to other rooms / spaces / open air may mean that whatever its size, the hall cannot be reasonably be used for any other purpose.

4. The proportion of the rooms and hall in relation to the overall size of the dwelling.

TBA TBA Para:UNSPECIFIED When would a large hallway in a dwelling house be considered a habitable room for the purposes of Part B?

The following factors can be considered when deciding if a hallway is a habitable room:
1. Hall size - is there potential for the space to provide living / habitable accommodation, eg. dining table, lounge chairs etc.?

2. Are there other rooms available for the range of living purposes, ( ie. lounge, dining room, study?). Similarly, what type of accommodation is appropriate for the dwelling.

3. The arrangement of doors giving access to other rooms / spaces / open air may mean that whatever its size, the hall cannot be reasonably be used for any other purpose.

4. The proportion of the rooms and hall in relation to the overall size of the dwelling.

TBA TBA Para:UNSPECIFIED When does a storage space in a loft become a habitable room and require appropriate means of escape provisions?

The provision of a storage space within the loft area is acceptable, however the provision of an additional floor level, to be potentially used as habitable accommodation should not be considered without providing adequate means of escape. The following factors should be considered when assessing a storage space:

1. Have the ceiling joists or attic trusses been provided

2. Have windows or veluxes been provided for light and ventilation

3. The size of the loft access hatch

4. The ventilation provision to the roof space

5. Whether power outlets have been provided in the roof space

6. Whether plasterboarding has been provided to form an enclosure

Definitive guidelines cannot be provided, but the important factor is to ensure that if the loft space can be readily and easily adapted to provide habitable accommodation, then further details and assessment will be required.

TBA TBA Para:UNSPECIFIED Can I provide a step to an alternative escape window if the installed window has a cill height more than 1100mm above the finished floor level?

A step proposed as a remedial solution should only be considered if it can be reasonably considered to be part of the permanent structure of the floor. This would be a matter of judgement in each case but an isolated step on a plain wall adjacent a window is unlikely to be acceptable.

Where escape windows are installed with the bottom of the opening greater than 1100mm above floor level, the provision of a protected escape route would be acceptable.

TBA TBA Para:UNSPECIFIED Can I use thermoplastic insulation materials in a warm roof deck which passes over a compartment wall?

No, thermoplastic insulation materials should not be used in this situation, as referenced in Diagram 29 and Diagram 30 of Approved Document B:2006 Vol. 2. The reason for this restriction is that thermoplastic insulation materials have a tendency to melt and the resulting voids can provide a route for fire spread over or through the line of compartmentation.

Thermo-set insultation, such as Polyurethane (PUR), Polyisocyanurate (PIR) and Phenolic foam, whilst technically classed as combustible, is acceptable as they tend to exhibit charring behaviour when exposed to fire, and so are acceptable and permitted to cross the line of compartmentation.

Providing the roof covering can achieve the external fire rating of AA, AB or AC, thermo-set insulation products are acceptable with adequate fire stopping to ensure the potential for fire spread over or around the insulation is restricted.

TBA TBA Para:UNSPECIFIED Should refuges for the disabled be provided in residential basement car parks?

Refuges for disabled people are not required in car parks (basement or otherwise) serving residential premises. If the car park was open to members of the public and serves other non-residential uses, then this principle may change, and the guidance of BS5588-8 and BS9999 should be considered.

TBA TBA Para:UNSPECIFIED Is there an alternative to providing sprinklers in residential buildings above 30m in height?

There is not a lot of supporting information to consider any alternative, although it would be difficult to prove an acceptable alternative solution.

Increasing fire resistance of compartmentation could be considered, but sprinklers are also beneficial to life safety and fire fighting provisions, so whilst an increase in compartmentation will contain the fire within a specific area it will not control the fire temperature. Without sprinklers containment may be compromised.

A fully fire engineered design may be able to present an alternative solution, but it would be difficult to prove compliance with Building Regulations.

This list was generated on Thu Jun 30 06:40:32 2022 UTC.