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Fire escape over neighbours roof


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Can a five storey terraced building divided into five flats have a fire escape over a neighbours roof or into their property?

At the moment the house is four storeys and the owner wants to add an extra separate flat in the roof space as a mansard penthouse. Only an extended lift shaft will be able to access this penthouse floor as the stairs stop at the third floor and cannot be extended.

They want to connect through to the adjoining neighbours house and to use their protected staircase in case of an emergency. Can this be done? Its a completely different owner and building? The neighbour has agreed (for a fee!). I would say the unobstructed distance is about 10 metres to their staircase.

I remember in the 90’s going to a sixth floor flat in London which had an alarmed door in one room and this went through to the neighbours flat, a completely separate terraced property. The door was only to be used in case of fire as an escape route to the neighbours roof.  Strange situation. 

I am wondering what the rules are of using your neighbours property as a means of access in case of emergency.

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Your proposals would require building regulations approval and it is very unlikely it would get approval, because only an alternative escape route is allowed to use a flat roof and roof has to be part of the same building.

Years ago when older buildings where being brought up to, the as then modern standards, alternative escape through the adjacent premises  was sometimes the only solution and that's is why you may find them in older buildings. 

Check out Approved Document B (fire Safety) volume 2: Premises other than Dwelling Houses page 21,29 and 57

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  • 3 years later...
Guest resident handyman

i work in a 13 story student accommendation building do all types of maintenance on my own

part time ,recently management as decidied to change roof access door on top floor

to a fire exit ,they have now fitted a slam lock to this door, doing away with the door lock

you also have to step up to get though door, and there is no man safe fall system on roof to stop any falls

there is a wall ladder to access service area on roof above ,with no mansafe again,  on this roof either

is all this allowed, once students find out how the slam locks work they will be out there all the time

where as before only limited access with key was allowed ,and the door is not alarmed either

no one is listening to my concerns

advise requiried asap



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