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Sprinklers required for top-floor BTL maisonette?


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Hello all,

We're in the process of buying a top-floor maisonette (2nd and 3rd floors of a large terrace), which we intend to rent out to tenants.  The terrace contains 3 other flats (basement, ground and 1st floors).

The Fire Risk Assessment was carried out by the seller + one other flat-owner (both with share of freehold).  The FRA states "The common way has been constructed in compliance with local building regulations for fire protection".  Assuming that the common stairway is compliant re: fire doors, building materials etc. (as stated in the FRA), this would provide the 'protected stairway' escape route required by The Building Regulations 2010.

However, the maisonette occupies 2 floors more than 4.5 metres above ground level.  In this scenario, the Building Regs linked to previously suggest that either of the following is required: (a) an alternative escape route, or (b) a sprinkler system (see p15, Section 2.7).

Re: option (a), there is an external fire escape attached to the back of the terrace with access from all 4 floors, although the cast iron staircase is badly corroded, and the Homebuyer's Survey confirmed that this should be considered unsafe.  We will likely be adding a clause in any Tenancy Agreement that the external staircase shouldn't be used.

If the external fire escape is eventually removed (which is likely to be most cost-effective), would it be necessary to install a sprinkler system throughout the 2nd and 3rd floors, or are we interpreting the Building Regulation requirements incorrectly for a terrace split into maisonettes/flats?

Many thanks in advance,


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I will assume it is a conversion also the common areas have a FRA done by a competent person and is satisfactory. You have been using ADB volume 1 for dwelling houses not volume 2 for flats, and in your case described as a multi storey flat.(Maisonette) So you need to check out vol 2. clause 2.16 page 23. and Clause 2.21 page 27 however I did not find it easy to understand.

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Building Regulations compliance at the time of the most recent conversion will have been by the provision of the external stair. The stair should have been kept in good repair over the years (& it would be interesting to see who should have been doing this according to the leases).

If it's in poor condition it will need to be repaired or replaced - you can't simply remove it as this will require a Building Control submission and you will be told to either replace the stair or provide an accepted alternative (e,g, sprinklers).

It would be less disruptive to do external work & repair/replace the external stair.

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