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#1 Posted : 04 June 2021 07:43:49(UTC)
Rank: Forum user

Undertaking a fire risk assessment in an old building that has had some refurbishment, there is a cellar which is not really used but its entry door (not a fire door) opens into a main protected escape route. The cellar itself due to history is not constructed as protected zone. My view is that the door should be changed for a fire door, to at least mitigte smoke being able to enter the escape route should a fire occure in the cellar. The cellar is covered by fire detection. What would others recommend.

peter gotch  
#2 Posted : 04 June 2021 12:23:12(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
peter gotch


You asked what others would recommend.

I would recommend that this needs a multi-disciplinary approach.

You say that the building is old but not how old.

For all I know if someone were to simply remove and replace the existing door from the cellar into the protected route, this would have an adverse impact on the entire structure.

So, before you contemplated that, it would be sensible to seek comment from a structural engineer who knows about historic buildings with their understanding of Eurocodes being very much of secondary concern.

Then you would need to consider the risk of a fire (or products of combustion) entering the cellar and the risks of a fire starting in a cellar that you say is essentially not used. Perhaps there is nothing in the cellar to catch fire, perhaps there is.

If the cellar is not used, then perhaps the door from there to the protected route is redundant and could be blocked off with fire protection, but again with a need to ponder the structural engineering implications of that, together with the likely reduction in the width of the protected route.

Many variables which make it impossible to provide an authoritative answer to your Q.

#3 Posted : 05 June 2021 13:44:06(UTC)
Rank: Forum user

As Peter has said, there’s not enough to go on to give you any useful information.

However, you say the cellar door is not a fire door, but it opens onto a protected route. I cant see how you can define a MOE as a protected route if any door leading onto it isn't a fire door!?

If the cellar a true ‘blind’ basement  and rarely visited, this adds some risk in terms of maintenance issues and even more so if services like power enter here. 

Any fire would in a sub surface unfenstrated area can only vent its energy (heat and smoke etc) up the stairs as it can't lose any energy through windows. As a result, building regs often require addition compartmentation measures to reduce this risk, depending on the size and use of the premises.

I would look at Approved Document B of the Building Regs to start off with

#4 Posted : 05 June 2021 15:29:34(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user

You say the "door to the cellar" does this door lead to stairs down to the cellar which is a dead end?

I would think that you could board the doorway using two layers of plasterboard which would give one hour fire protection and ensure all joints are sealed.  This would be cheaper than replacing the door with a fire door and its frame with proper hardware and installed by a certified fire door fitter.

You should also check the fire resistance of the walls in case there are breaches that would defeat any fire resistance.

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