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Guest Neil

Can external escape routes go past windows?

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Guest Neil

Hi,
I have got a fire escape route on the outside of a building, with goes over 3 separate windows.
The windows have openings but do not obstruct the route of escap.
What are the regulations on the windows? Do they need to be fire rated windows or any specifics regulation?
Thank you in advance.
Kind regards Neil

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There will be no particular regulation it is all about risk assessment, if fire was issuing from any of these windows could people using this escape route be able to pass safely? You never said which type of premises we are discussing because there is guidance for each type.

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Hi,

I thought there was a regulation around windows / glazing that is within 1.8 metres horizontally from any external fire escape. Meaning that such glazing must be 30 minutes FR. Am I mistaken ? You've got me thinking now guys.

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You are correct Dan but Neil said "fire escape route on the outside of a building" not external fire escape and it is not regulation its DCLG guidance. On an external fire escape you cannot move away from any windows to a safe distance so they need to be 30 minutes FR fixed shut, on other horizontal escape routes you may be able too, that's why it is all about risk assessment.

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This is an old topic but as I have just come across a related issue I thought I'd throw one into the mix. An external escape route outside a building (rear garden area of a residential care home) which passes several windows which are clearly not fire rated. As it is a fairly narrow passageway it is not possible to move away from the windows any reasonable distance. This, in my opinion, makes that escape route untenable if the status quo remains regarding the glazing. This route is the only way to leave the garden area unless you re-enter the building on the ground floor which would then allow you to exit by an alternative route.

The external fire escapes which lead to this garden area would only be used as a last resort as from the FRA the normal method would be down the internal staircase to the internal assembly point. Upgrading the glazing makes the problem go away but, of course, has a significant cost attached. It seems counter-intuitive to advise people who do use the external fire escape to re-enter the building on the ground floor in order to avoid passing the 'suspect' glazing ?

Any thoughts ?

Dan.

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Dan as you said "Upgrading the glazing makes the problem go away" cost should be a secondary consideration. However looking at it from a risk point of view, if a fire originated in any of these risk rooms would there be a risk to the primary MoE and is there a good fire separation? Assuming there is, a fire originated in one of these rooms that would negate the alternative escape route but the primary MoE would still be available, I am assuming there is an L1 fire alarm fitted. I personally would discount going back into the building based on the premise once out stay out..

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Tom,

A fire originating in any of these rooms would not immediately have an adverse affect on the primary MoE (which is via the main internal staircase) . It could, however, have an effect on that external escape route from the rear garden.

The FRA directs them to use the external fire escapes only as a last resort (if the primary MoE are untenable) as they themselves pose a hazard to the vulnerable residents that live there. Particularly at night or in adverse weather conditions. Fire separation & compartmentation is reasonable & there is an L1 system in place.

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So you consider there is adequate separation and early warning of fire. Also no matter where the fire originates there will be an escape route available and all the residents/staff would be able to evacuate safely despite the possibility you could lose one of the escape routes. Over to you Dan the decision is yours.

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Guest Claudio

Hi 

a Victorian house converted into 3 flats.The communal staircase has a maintained fire alarm.

Smoke detectors and emergency lightion.

The question is can we remove the rusty old external fire escape???

Any ideas please

Legislation ? ??

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Guest Guest Ed

Interesting topic. I've not come across this issue before but I'm looking at a 3 storey building (ground floor shop/maisonette above) where the only route from maisonette is an external staircase. This passes a window (the kitchen window of the maisonette). I assume this window needs to be 30mins and fixed shut? If so ventilation of the kitchen becomes a challenge. Thanks.

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Guest Guest South England
On 7/13/2015 at 8:12 AM, Tom Sutton said:

Dan as you said "Upgrading the glazing makes the problem go away" cost should be a secondary consideration. However looking at it from a risk point of view, if a fire originated in any of these risk rooms would there be a risk to the primary MoE and is there a good fire separation? Assuming there is, a fire originated in one of these rooms that would negate the alternative escape route but the primary MoE would still be available, I am assuming there is an L1 fire alarm fitted. I personally would discount going back into the building based on the premise once out stay out..

ADB would require an external escape to be protected if alongside the building (B2  - 3.30) within certain distances. 

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The windows would not have to be FR providing the cill does not come below 1.1 m from the floor, so persons can duck under the window and most windows meet this criteria.

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Guest Gill

Hi, we have a similar dilemma. A loft conversion with an external staircase entering the top floor that has a landing which is directly above a sash window.  Can we use fire proof glass ( 30min rule) or do we need to move the window, and if so does the window have to be more than 1.8m from the staircase, given that it would still be at the same level just moved sideways so that it is no longer directly under the staircase.. The Building Inspector says we cannot have any windows near the staircase.  We also have a window that you can escape onto the staircase from the 1st floor, but he is also questioning this.

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Using Approved Document B Fire Safety (ADB) the rule is any openings (doors or windows) within 1.8 m of an external staircase has to be 30 minute fire resistance and any openable windows fixed shut. I cannot give a definitive answer on the information you provided but it appears the sash window below the landing could be 30 minutes fire resisting glazing (FRG) and any openable windows fixed shut. The other window you can escape onto the staircase from must be FRG and fixed shut.

Check out https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/485420/BR_PDF_AD_B1_2013.pdf page 20.

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Guest PaulH

Hi

Just came accross this thread which is really interesting and wondered whether you could advise.

I have a ground floor business premises which has a residential flat above on the first floor. Currently there is an external fire escape from the first floor at the rear of the property which desecends adjacent to a ground floor single storey extension. 

I would like to extend this extension sideways into the space where the fire escape currently descends.

Would it be possible for the fire escape to go over the flat roofed single storey extension?

Thanks very much

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Guest GUEST H

Hi I have just found this thread and was hoping someone could give me some advice.

I live in a 1930's two story maisonette block consisting of four flats in a conservation area, there are 13 blocks of four in total.  The properties are set in communal grounds with large gardens, the only fencing is the boundary fence around the estate so we are not enclosed by alleyways or other properties.

At the rear of the properties the upstairs flats have iron wrought external fire escapes leading down from their back door. The stairs run down the side of the building a proportion of which passes past the bathroom window and one bedroom window of the downstairs flat.  The downstairs bedroom has 3 large windows, one of these opens onto the fire escape railings leaving a tiny gap.  The middle window is fixed and the 3rd window opens fully out onto the garden.  There are two exit doors in both the downstairs and upstairs flat.

The stairs are original and in a very poor state, we have been advised by our managing agent that they need to be replaced but have advised us that the new steel stair replacements will be positioned so they come straight out and away from the building, we are all unhappy about this and wanted to know if this was the only alternative?  Looking at this thread it seems if we installed the correct glass we should be able to have the new ones installed in the same position?  Although there is no exit from two of the bedroom windows downstairs you can easily exit from the one that does open.  The bathroom window downstairs has one fixed window and one that opens out but it hits the bottom of the fire escape but this could be remedied by swapping the window around making the opening on the other side.

Apologies for the waffle any advice appreciated.

 

 

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The external staircase could be located on the side of the building but any doors should be FD30 self/closing and any windows be FRG fixed shut if within a specified distances of the staircase,(see Approved Document B (fire Safety) volume 2: Premises other than Dwelling Houses  page 54/55). The problem with this, there could be a need for escape windows but without having an personnal knowledge of the premises especially the flats internal layout and construction it is impossible to give a satisfactory answer. Also there could be problems with ventilation so you need the services of a fire consultant and building regulations approval.

 

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Guest Steph Lenn

Hi guys,

Hope you are all well.

I have come here to post before I hit google.  The topic is in relation to Fire Exit doors.  We are currently renovating an existing Factory to move into in the next few weeks hopefully.  We've decided that we need more space in the warehouse, therefore, the exterior wall will be extended, thus moving one of the fire doors with the exterior wall.  The problem then lies with the perimeter of the factory, which is bordered by a tall steel fence with spikes on top (not sure on the correct name). 

So, if you imagine a Fire Exit in the corner of a Warehouse, you leave via the door and you can not turn left due to a dead end, you can not move straight away from the building due to the fence, although, there is 1 meter, the only option is to walk along the perimeter (of the potential on fire building).

I have suggested developing a relationship with the owner of the land beside us to put a gateway through the fence and to lead away from our building the quickest possible way.  This suggestion was not takin well due to poor relations and security issues but I will push on this matter!  

Can anyone suggest anything else we could do?  Am I right in thinking that building control will not allow this extension due to the location of the Fire Exit and fence?

Thank you for your time to read and reply. 

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I cannot give a definitive reply without a survey or at least more information, but walking the perimeter may be acceptable if it leads to ultimate safety depending on the numbers that are likely to use the route, and all external doors/windows may have to be fire resistant, you need a fire risk assessor to check it out.

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Guest JTG

Regarding 1.8m distance, can somebody please show me in ADB V2 where it says glazed windows need to be ‘fixed shut’, as stated by Tom? I can’t find it

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