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Two storey Night club with a void between ground and first floor. 

Void is up to first floor roof, 60m2

Floor space is 200m2

Fire strategy using BS9999 states I can have a variation to exit width based on room /ceiling height >3m because of the void. The height of the ceiling in the rest of the floor is <3m. Therefore majority of floor is<3m.

Fire authority state that the room height is not uniformly 3m and the variation can't be applied based on the void as that is not what BS9999 states in 18.3. building control didn't mention it, yet.

Fire strategy author states that is not the case. Who is right before I spend more money I don't have on this?



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Fire service case is based on this paragraph in BS9999 which is part of the list of conditions for applying variations to travel distance, exit & stair widths based on ceiling height.

"b) the entire escape route, with the exception of corridors and lobbies, has a high ceiling;"

Unfortunately a lot of things in buildings aren't picked up by Building Control and a completion certificate issued only for the premises to be subject to later enforcement (& sometimes successful prosecution) as their role is compliance with Building Regulations only and sometimes the certs are footnoted that they are not a guarantee that the premises fully meets other legislation nor every aspect of the build is up to spec hence a lot of buildings facing action for poor fire stopping and other issues.

You have the option of a Secretary of State determination where there is a disagreement over the technical solutions to meeting Fire Safety Legislation or an appeal at Magistrates Court if you feel an Enforcement Notice is not warranted by the situation, but this will involve expense and experts to build & present your case.

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Thanks... Do you think the void not being the full extent of the room does not comply with 18.3 Point (b)?

The strategy author hasn't stated specifics other than the fact that the void runs right to the ceiling but smoke travel in a large percentage of the room will not travel directly upwards until it hits the void area.

I have an L1 alarm system so don't understand why they didn't utilise that to leverage a variation in exit width??

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That's certainly the fire services view and I can see their point with it saying 'full extent'.

Would using the higher than minimum level of detection relaxation in place of the high ceiling relaxation give you the same reduction in width?

If so, it may be worth sounding out the fire service to see if they would be comfortable with that if you had a new fire/amended fire strategy to back it up. If they would be happy then the expense of the new paperwork is worth it, if not then you don't do it and think again as to your options (probably a determination).

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