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Pecanfan
 
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Default Steel Staircase / Fire Escape

Following on from my loft hatch joist cutting posts (cheers for all the
help - it's in the hands of the structural engineer now and I've ordered a
new SDS drill - wahey!! :-) )... and on a completely unrelated matter...

Basically our flat (upstairs, terraced job) currently has an internal rear
staircase (eating up 30% of our kitchen) leading out to the back yard, i.e.
the door to the rear yard is downstairs. We want to move this door to
upstairs to increase the floor area of our kitchen and basically 'bolt' a
steel fire escape onto the back of the house.

Now, we're limited with how much space we've got in the back yard and would
like the staircase to consist of a single flight. We've had some rough
plans drawn up by some steel fabricators but I have a couple of concerns...

1. The angle of the dangle (sorry, erm... the pitch) is clearly 45 degrees
on their drawing and building regs reckons 42 degrees is the highest pitch
you can have.

2. The rise would appear to be 250mm, but again looking at the building
regs document 220mm would seem the be the max rise.

The steel fabricators said they put staircases like this in all the time and
have never had any problems with building regs, so am I missing something
here? ...and does it make any difference that this isn't the main entrance
to the flat, which is obviously at the front of the house?

....and what about blocks of flats where you only have one entrance anyway?
....and what about buildings that just seem to have retractable ladders
bolted to the backs of them?

I'll be drawing the plans up this weekend in preparation of having a chat
with planning, but what's the crack with building regs? As far as I can
gather I have the option of a 'full plans' submission, which will take about
5 weeks, or a 'building notice' which will take 48 hours, but they might say
no... after it's been fabricated... which wouldn't be good. What happens if
I just don't involve building regs? Do I just (!) run the risk of them
spotting it later down the line and forcing me to rip it all down?

Cheers again,

Andy
STILL haven't started ANY renovation and getting slightly impatient now!
:-)


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Hugo Nebula
 
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On Fri, 3 Sep 2004 12:23:37 +0100, a particular chimpanzee named
"Pecanfan" randomly hit the keyboard and produced:

1. The angle of the dangle (sorry, erm... the pitch) is clearly 45 degrees
on their drawing and building regs reckons 42 degrees is the highest pitch
you can have.


Correct.

2. The rise would appear to be 250mm, but again looking at the building
regs document 220mm would seem the be the max rise.


Correct.

The steel fabricators said they put staircases like this in all the time and
have never had any problems with building regs,


One of the biggest lies in the world (along with "the cheque's in the
post", "of course I'll still respect you"), is "we've never had a
problem with Building Regs". This could possibly be because they
never tell Building Regs, and leave it for the poor client to sort out
years down the line.

does it make any difference that this isn't the main entrance
to the flat.


Not in terms of the rise and going, etc.

I'll be drawing the plans up this weekend in preparation of having a chat
with planning, but what's the crack with building regs? As far as I can
gather I have the option of a 'full plans' submission, which will take about
5 weeks, or a 'building notice' which will take 48 hours, but they might say
no... after it's been fabricated... which wouldn't be good. What happens if
I just don't involve building regs? Do I just (!) run the risk of them
spotting it later down the line and forcing me to rip it all down?


Check on most Council's websites under Building Control, and they'll
explain the difference between a Full Plans application, and a
Building Notice. To summarise; the design of your stair will be
checked on a Full Plans (a good thing from what you've said so far),
but not with a Building Notice, until it's too late.

It's possible you could be made to remove or alter it if you're found
out within 12 months, but more likely if you come to sell, you'll be
asked by the buyer's solicitors for proof that it complies with the
Building Regulations, usually on the day before you're due to
complete.
--
Hugo Nebula
'What you have to ask yourself is, "if no-one on the internet wants
a piece of this, just how far from the pack have you strayed?"'
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Owain
 
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"Hugo Nebula" wrote
| The steel fabricators said they put staircases like this in all the
| time and have never had any problems with building regs,
| One of the biggest lies in the world (along with "the cheque's in
| the post", "of course I'll still respect you"),

"of course I'm on the pill", "yes I can drive this thing", "no we're not
lost", and "study hard at school and you'll get a good job"

| is "we've never had a problem with Building Regs". This could
| possibly be because they never tell Building Regs, and leave it
| for the poor client to sort out years down the line.

I thought that B Regs / Building Control took a dim view of external stairs
as fire exit routes? Of course depending on the layout/construction of the
flat and the building this may not be a designated FER but simply an access
to an otherwise inaccessible garden.

Owain


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Hugo Nebula
 
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On Sat, 4 Sep 2004 17:18:46 +0100, a particular chimpanzee named
"Owain" randomly hit the keyboard and
produced:

I thought that B Regs / Building Control took a dim view of external stairs
as fire exit routes? Of course depending on the layout/construction of the
flat and the building this may not be a designated FER but simply an access
to an otherwise inaccessible garden.


An external escape route has to be protected from any openings below
or alongside which could jeopardise it. There should be at least one
internal protected stair. It shouldn't be more than 6m high.

I read the OP as already having a suitable internal escape route, and
the new stair was for access to the garden only.
--
Hugo Nebula
'What you have to ask yourself is, "if no-one on the internet wants
a piece of this, just how far from the pack have you strayed?"'
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Pecanfan
 
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1. The angle of the dangle (sorry, erm... the pitch) is clearly 45
degrees
on their drawing and building regs reckons 42 degrees is the highest

pitch
you can have.


Correct.

2. The rise would appear to be 250mm, but again looking at the building
regs document 220mm would seem the be the max rise.


Correct.

The steel fabricators said they put staircases like this in all the time

and
have never had any problems with building regs,


One of the biggest lies in the world (along with "the cheque's in the
post", "of course I'll still respect you"), is "we've never had a
problem with Building Regs". This could possibly be because they
never tell Building Regs, and leave it for the poor client to sort out
years down the line.


OK - cheers for the replies - I was afraid that might be the case!
Considering it's taken 5 separate steel fabricators and 2 months to get this
far, I'm not best pleased.

Anyway, spent yesterday redesigning the staircase myself and think I've
managed to fit it in the desired space AND stay within building regs (it's a
3300mm drop and I've got 4750mm to play with for overall length of the
actual flight). Didn't realise there was no official limit when it comes to
the minimum width of a staircase, or have I missed something? The only way
I can fit the bottom landing in is to have a 589mm wide staircase. Can
anyone see any problems with this?

Just to clarify, it's NOT the main entrance to the property - it merely
gives access to the back yard and back lane.

Andy
drill has finally arrived! - :-)




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Capitol
 
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How about using a spiral staircase as it's just for access? Loft shop do
some internal ones which it might be possible to use externally.

Regards
Capitol
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Pecanfan
 
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How about using a spiral staircase as it's just for access? Loft shop do
some internal ones which it might be possible to use externally.

Regards
Capitol


Hadn't really thought about a spiral staircase but I suppose it would
certainly be an option! Slightly confused about the whole building regs
side of things since it says (Building Regs, Doc K):-

"1.21 Stairs designed in accordance with BS5395 Stairs, Ladders and
Walkways. Part 2: 1984 Code of Practice for the design of helical and spiral
stairs, will be adequate."

Where do I get BS5395? Does BS5395 specify the same stuff shown in Building
Regs Doc K or does it have some extra stuff?

It then goes on to say:-

"Stairs with goings less than shown in this standard may be considered in
conversion work when space is limited and the stair does not serve more than
one habitable room."

What does it mean by 'this standard'? Does it mean the standards in Doc K
or the standards in BS5395? ...and what does it mean by 'one habitable
room'? This staircase would serve our kitchen, but the kitchen leads to the
lounge, but the lounge leads to a hallways which is attached to our main
entrance staircase... ?

....and if I can get away with a spiral staircase, why on earth aren't I
allowed a 45 degree straight staircase with say, 250mm rise?

AAAAAAAAAAARGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!
Cheers for throwing another spanner in the works ;-)

Found this though and they seem to do some really nice stuff which comes
flat packed and can be fitted yourself!: http://www.castspiralstairs.com/

Time for a chat with building control me thinks...

Andy


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Hugo Nebula
 
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On Tue, 7 Sep 2004 11:54:01 +0100, a particular chimpanzee named
"Pecanfan" randomly hit the keyboard and produced:

"1.21 Stairs designed in accordance with BS5395 Stairs, Ladders and
Walkways. Part 2: 1984 Code of Practice for the design of helical and spiral
stairs, will be adequate."

Where do I get BS5395? Does BS5395 specify the same stuff shown in Building
Regs Doc K or does it have some extra stuff?


BS 5395: Pt 2 relates specifically to spiral stairs. There is a _lot_
of extra stuff, including some complex calculations. BS aren't
downloadable, or at least not for free.

"Stairs with goings less than shown in this standard may be considered in
conversion work when space is limited and the stair does not serve more than
one habitable room."

What does it mean by 'this standard'? Does it mean the standards in Doc K
or the standards in BS5395? ...and what does it mean by 'one habitable
room'?


It means BS 5395: Part 2. The minimum widths in the BS can be reduced
in loft conversions where there is only one room accessed by the
stair.

...and if I can get away with a spiral staircase, why on earth aren't I
allowed a 45 degree straight staircase with say, 250mm rise?


Because a properly designed spiral stair is perfectly safe. The
maximum rise on a spiral stair is 220mm, and the natural inclination
is to walk on the outside of the tread which is wider than the minimum
for a straight flight.
--
Hugo Nebula
'What you have to ask yourself is, "if no-one on the internet wants
a piece of this, just how far from the pack have you strayed?"'
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