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Fire exit from basement

Guest LauraEngs

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Guest LauraEngs


I was looking at the building code and regulations regarding fire safety in mind as I am looking to lease a small retail shop and wanted to know more about number of exits required for basement levels for public use. The shop is not large at all, about 11ft x 27ft with an stair leading down to the basement with a head height of no more than 6'2" once you're in the basement. I did have a look at non-domestic fire escapes in basements and it said I need two 'storey exits'. Does that mean if I had 2 staircases in the internal shop that would suffice, or does it need to be two external exits i.e. like a cellar door? Alternatively, if I didn't use the basement as public use, could I still use the room downstairs for members of the public to store coats and prams when coming to my shop? I know that you can put restrooms in the basement, but this is why I was seeing whether or not storage could be applied under the same exception.

Kind regards,

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I assume you have been studying the Approve Document B (fire Safety) which discusses unprotected staircases and protected staircases from a basement. If you use unprotected staircase then you need an alternative means of escape which could be cellar door or escape window or another staircase leading to an alternative final exit on the ground floor. If you use a protected staircase leading to a final exit, you only need one staircase.

You will also need a 60 minute fire separation between the basement and the ground floor and I am not sure about the head height in the basement whether or not building control would accept it. Also the travel distances could be a problem but without measurements or a plan I cannot say.

If you are doing refurbishment, subject to building regulation then you should talk to building control, if not, then you are using the wrong guidance and should be using the DCLG guidance "Offices and Shops" which can be downloaded from http://www.firesafe.org.uk/regulatory-reform-fire-safety-order-2005/

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