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Escape routes for office buildings

Guest CsabaZ

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Guest CsabaZ

There are about 100 staff working in our office and we have two fire escape routes. According to the regulations the minimum width of the escape routes should be 850mm.

One of the fire escape routes is via a concrete fire staircase. We are proposing to have three plastic recycling containers with lids (500wx500dx800h) (for paper, cardboard, tetra pack and glass) on the fires staircase on each floor. They would be emptied daily.

I understand that fire escape routes “have to be kept clear at all times”. At the same time, however, even with the recycling bins in place the lowest width of the escape route would be about 1290mm – much wider than required by building regs. and that path would be kept clear at all times. The doors leading to the fire staircase are fire doors and we have another fire escape route on the other side of the building.

My question is would we be able to have the bins in their proposed new place and comply with fire safety regulations?

Your help is much appreciated in advance.



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I cannot give a definitive answer without a physical inspection (Fire Risk Assessment). However a possible risk is, the containers to be involved in fire but providing the alternative means of escape can cater for all the person on the premises, then that should be acceptable. The second risk is the containers being moved and causing a trip hazard, but providing the containers are held fixed in a suitable position, allowing the MoE not to be reduced then you could have a good case to convince the enforcing officer that safety has not been compromised.

Who has conducted the FRA, it may be worth having a word with him/her but I would not be too worried providing the conditions above had been met.

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