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How to save time & money when planning a loft conversion or open plan project

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If you’re looking to create an open plan living space or add an extra room with a loft conversion, Automist® can be used as a more convenient alternative to sprinklers to meet Building Regulations. Unfortunately, modern layouts are often at odds with the fire safety requirements of Building Regulations: the guidance encourages either unattractive compartmentation or costly and disruptive sprinkler systems. 

Loft conversions

If you’re adding an extra floor to your home by converting your attic, the windows in your loft conversion would be too high to jump from. Therefore, the fire safety measures are more stringent.

In most cases the escape route from the loft is usually the home’s main staircase and hallway. This route needs to be ‘protected’ as much as possible and offer at least 30 minutes of fire resistance, giving you time to escape or be rescued by your local fire brigade.

Most, if not all, doors that lead off the staircase will need to be upgraded to give this fire resistance or be replaced with fire doors.

If your stairs lead to an open plan living area, they will need to be enclosed with partition walls to keep the escape route protected, or you will need to install Automist® in the open plan area.

Open plan living

Automist® provides enhanced fire protection to meet building regulations in homes with open plan interiors. Open plan layouts can make a massive difference to a property and be relatively straightforward to achieve with the correct guidance. When it comes to building regulations, there are three main types of open-plan layout:

  • Type 1 – this is where your kitchen is combined with another habitable room, such as a living or dining room, but it’s not on the fire escape route, and there are no bedrooms off the open area.
  • Type 2 – this is where the staircase or fire escape route is combined with a habitable room, such as a living or dining area, but your kitchen is separate. You see this with flats where bedrooms are accessed via the living room.
  • Type 3 – this is where you have a kitchen and possibly other rooms open to the main escape route from the property. An example is when your main staircase passes through a kitchen/diner.

As a rule of thumb, the more open the layout, and the higher the property from the ground floor, the more restrictions there are.

As an Authorised Automist Installer, we can help!

Blue Light’s expert team understand local building control and can get your property approved quickly. We are not always the cheapest, but we will not compromise your home with poor workmanship. Have you spoken to Building Control?

1. Have you spoken with Building Control?

If you haven’t chosen your building control yet, our customers recommend Approved Inspectors. You will need to know why an automatic fire suppression system is required in your home. Do you have a four-storey house, a three-storey property with an open plan area, or another compliance requirement? If unsure, you can also speak to your builder, architect, or fire engineer. This is important as your installer needs this information to provide you with options to meet building regulations, as certain property types offer more flexibility than others.

2. What do you need to do?

Start by sending a floor plan of your property to your chosen installer, or ask for a site visit if preferred. They need a floor plan and the reason why you require a system to generate a quote and design proposal. You can show this to Building Control for pre-approval. That way, you can establish if your home will be compliant with Automist installed before you spend any money. Each design proposal will align with Plumis Automist installation guidelines which consider how many spray heads are needed per room.

3. Installing Automist

Once you have confirmation, book your installation with your Blue Light Safety. Automist is designed for retrofit and to minimise disruption to your home. Once the installation is complete, your installer will provide you with the final sign-off paperwork.

Get in touch today to discuss your project and how Blue Light can help – email or call 0330 353 0053.

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Blue Light Safety is a registered company in England. Automist® is the registered trademark of Plumis Ltd.

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