Fire safety should naturally be at the forefront of your mind with any new building or renovation project.
When it comes to timber staircases, fire safety regulations are particularly stringent and can sometimes be complex and confusing. To help you navigate these regulations, we have compiled a practical guide that will prove useful when working on a project involving stairs.
Current Staircase Fire Regulations In UK
In England and Wales, the fire safety regulations for timber staircases are outlined in Part B staircase related Building Regulations. These regulations aim to protect lives by:
— Providing escape routes from the home
— Restricting or preventing the spread of fire to or from neighbouring homes
— Restricting or preventing the spread of fire inside the home
— Providing essential access for the fire brigade
For homes where the first floor is not more than 4.5 meters above the exterior ground level, escape routes must be accessible from all habitable rooms (e.g., bedrooms but not bathrooms). However, there are different requirements for homes that are three or more storeys high.
For three or four storey homes, provided that the top floor does not exceed 7.5 meters in height, a protected stairway must be present. This stairway should be continuous to an external door or provide access to at least two escape routes at ground level.
Since the stairway is the sole means of escape from the upper floors, it must be constructed using fire-resistant materials that can withstand fire for at least 30 minutes. Additionally, all habitable rooms along the stairway must be equipped with FD20-rated fire doors.
For homes with top floors above 7.5 meters, a second escape staircase or additional protection such as sprinklers will be necessary to compensate for the increased fire risk.
Regulations for Loft Conversions
When it comes to loft conversions in a two-storey house, similar regulations apply as mentioned above. Additionally, a protected route must be provided through a stairway that does not pass through any rooms. Existing first-floor ceilings should be adapted to achieve 30 minutes of fire resistance, and mains-powered, interlinked smoke alarms should be installed.
Enhance Staircase Safety - The UK Fire Escape Stair Regulations You Need To Know
Apart from complying with the structural regulations and recommendations for your timber staircase, there are additional steps you can take to improve its fire resistance.
The British Standard BS 476-7 governs the surface spread of flame and classifies materials into four decreasing classes of performance. While most untreated timber falls into Class 3, surfaces in escape routes, such as staircases, must meet Class 0 for solid wood and Class 1 for plywood.
Adhering to the staircase fire regulations outlined in the Part B staircase requirements is crucial for ensuring the safety of occupants and preventing the spread of fire. By thoroughly understanding and implementing these regulations, and utilizing fire-resistant or fire-retardant-treated materials, you can greatly enhance the fire safety of your timber staircase.
If you want to ensure that your staircase design complies with all regulations and achieves optimal fire safety, reach out to our team of staircase experts today on 01962 712299 or firstname.lastname@example.org! Let us help you in developing a comprehensive plan that will lead to staircase success.
Disclaimer: This is our own interpretation of the general guidelines and you should obtain independent expert advice for your particular project.