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Architectural Services Question
We moved into a new build bungalow 2 & a half years ago; we had a plumber come the other day & he thinks we have to have a back door legally, we only , have a front door; I am in a wheelchair & worry about getting out if there is a fire. I am wheelchair bound & could not get out of the windows.
The critical layout of the property is the means of escape from habitable rooms in the event of a fire. Building Control would expect all habitable rooms to have a primary, protected means of escape to the external air, this is normally a central hallway in a bungalow to a front door, each door would normally be 30 minute fire resistance to protect the means of escape.
If all the rooms lead onto a hallway are fire doors and the hallway leads to a front door then you do not necessarily need another external door.
If the hallway is excessively long then Building Control would require another door.
The secondary means of escape would be through a window or door in a habitable room, if you are disabled then this is not an option so you are right to be concerned.
Your Local Authority Building Control Dept normally have a fire officer who would be able to visit and assess if a back door is required.
Obviously if it does concern you I would install a back door if it would make escape from a fire quicker for you.
Aztech Architecture Ltd
Answered 9th Sep 2012
Contact Building Control for your area and they should be able to advise you if the property is legal and safe since it has to pass all current building regulations and should have been Inspected. It should conform to approved document b (fire).
Answered 3rd Aug 2012