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Pub cellar ceiling - need to be fire rated??


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Hi all,

Quick question - old pub (built 1600's). Timber floors throughout. L1 alarm system was installed in 2010 as compensation for uncertainty on building materials / levels of fire resistance. Separate sleeping accommodation above pub (private flats with own independent entry / exit).

Question is, would you expect the basement / beer cellar ceiling to be compartmented??

They have a fire door on ground floor to the cellar, but when you get down in the cellar, the ceiling is riddled with holes to allow pipes and cables to travel up...

There is no formal fire strategy which i guess is normal for this type / age of premises.

Reason for query is that previous FRA's have always said that the L1 alarm system is adequate to compensate for any defects to compartmentation...new FRA this year states that the cellar must be separated from ground with 60-min fire resistant material. The alarm is interlinked to sounders in the flats above too.

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Detection can never fully replace compartmentation breaches as there is a minimum Required Safe Evacuation Time (which is higher in sleeping risk) that even the earliest warning won't be enough if a fire (or more importantly the heat, smoke & toxins) has no physical check.

Basements should generally be 60 minutes, you might allow a lesser amount with compensation, but if you have multiple penetrations with no passive protection at all you are looking at a very hazardous situation.

I had a 19th century mill that was completely unprotected and should have had all the floors underdrawn to comply with benchmarks, even by putting in an L1 system and the premises being non public and office use the basement still had to be upgraded and the stairs protected (including upgrading all the doors) and all fire stopping improved, the only relaxation we could come to agreement with the enforcing authorities on was not underdrawings the upper floors. (although that was enough to keep the site viable as the disruption, temporary accommodation for tenants and costs of works for this alone would have been prohibitive)

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