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A proposal to establish a residential care faciity within an existing bulding has thrown up a few issues. The building (more or less in it's current form) was previously used as a care home facility but closed several months ago. Some cosmetic & remedial works have been carried out to the fabric of the building with further work to follow before any proposed re-opening. The local FRS visited recently & have made comment on the suitability of the building particularly with regards to the fact that the 1st & 2nd floors are served by a single staircase with, self evidently, a single direction of travel to that staircase. It is proposed to have 6 rooms on the 2nd floor and 8 on the 1st. Travel distances from any room to the single staircase are not excesssive.

I have yet to speak to them myself but the single staircase alone does not seem to me to preclude use for residential care. It would be possible to install an additional fire door between the bedrooms & the staircase enclosure to further sub-compartmentalise the areas.

The FRS have also stated that the staircase is non compliant in terms of width. This also strikes me as odd as the building was operating as a care home until reasonably recently.


Any thoughts on this from the commnity ?

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You need a decent risk assessor to physically look at it (unless you are that person asking for opinions!). Is it a purpose built care home or a conversion (for example from an old large house with/without extensions)?

Most conversions and some older purpose built premises struggled to meet contemporary fire safety standards let alone current ones - whilst in use they had to do the best they could, but as this has closed down if it is unsuitable I can understand the reluctance to permit it's reuse for the same occupancy group.

Was the FRS visit under the Fire Safety Order or as part of consultation under Building Regulations?

I would put your query on the Firenet Forum as there are a lot of specialists on there who can offer opinion - http://www.crisis-response.com/forum/index.php


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Firstly, thank you for the reply. I have a reasonable degree of experience with the business of fire but I am certainly not an FS expert as I know many here are. I am just trying to help the current owners who want to do the right thing & run a safe home but who are now seriously concerned about the viability of the building they have bought. Many issues raised by the FRS officer can & will be easily addressed with remedial works but the single staircase is a fait accomplis.

  The building is a conversion with later additions. I will have a conversation with the fire officer to see if there are workable options which could be introduced to compensate for the single staircase & alleviate his concerns.

I was wondering if the single staircase in & of itself precludes it from consideration ? if it does, the rest is probably academic.

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I fullt agree with AB response and I believe a single staircase does not in itself precludes it from consideration but it depends on, size, travel distances, number of occupants and width of escape routes, all have to be considered.

I would have guessed the FRS used the DCLG as a benchmark guide you need to check it out with the FRS.

Edited by Tom Sutton
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