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Fire exit door replacement - rule on "not making it worse"


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I am interesting to find out what people think on this, as I am having conflicting expert views. If someone has worked in building control, I would love your take on it. 

I am replacing a fire exit door for a resident block, the proposed design has the opening width and height smaller than the original, but it still meets the minimum requirements set in the building regulations. 

Original is 900W x 1945H, Proposed is 839Wx 1914H (mm)

The debate/ interpretation is " it has to be like for like replacement, it cannot be made worse, the proposal will reduce the opening width and height of the fire exit therefore making it worse, against, it should be fine, as long as the proposal meets all the current building regulations. 

And would the against argument hold up against someone from building control, if they ask, why have you reduced the size of the door opening?

This would probably also apply to escape windows



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Check out Building Regulations.

Meaning of material alteration

3. (2) an alteration is material for the purposes of these Regulations if the work, or any part of it, would at any stage result—

(a) in a building or controlled service or fitting not complying with a relevant requirement where previously it did; or

(b) in a building or controlled service or fitting which before the work commenced did not comply with a relevant requirement, being more unsatisfactory in relation to such a requirement.

(3) In paragraph (2) “relevant requirement” means any of the following applicable requirements of Schedule 1, namely—

    Part A (structure)

    paragraph B1 (means of warning and escape)

    paragraph B3 (internal fire spread—structure)

    paragraph B4 (external fire spread)

    paragraph B5 (access and facilities for the fire service)

    Part M (access to and use of buildings).

The above is the definition of material alteration I would suggest you study it. According to what you said it looks like your situation is not a material alteration but I am not a AI/BCO.

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