This post will act as a guideline for fire safety when considering an open-plan living space. We strongly recommend that you consult your local building authority before carrying on with the build as you could potentially be in breach of building regulations.
Building regulations can be strict when it comes to open-plan designs especially if the building has multiple levels or few escape routes. This is because walls and doors play a vital role in slowing down the spread of fire/smoke and ensuring that people have the ability and time to exit the premises using an escape route.
Whether you live in a one-bedroom apartment or a multi-story house it is important to think of your escape route and how removing a wall could have an impact. Think of the kind of rooms you wish of combining and ask yourself what’s the likelihood of a fire occurring and what options have you got to escape.
Areas such as hallways and staircases are crucial to consider as these will most likely be the quickest and safest route out of your home. Therefore, it’s important if you plan on removing a wall connecting the dining room, kitchen, or bedroom to a hallway or staircase. Consider how the removal of walls and doors will improve the path the fire has to travel thus allowing it to develop quicker. Below are some general areas to consider when thinking of open-plan spaces followed by some available solutions.
Hallways often act as an escape route in most homes due to the nature of their connection to different rooms throughout the home and leading to an exit or entrance. Therefore, if you are planning on removing a wall between a hallway and a room you should take some things into consideration.
Some of the questions you should be asking yourself are, what is in the room? which part of the hallway is connected to it? is it beside an entrance or exit? is it on the bottom or top floor? does it cut off an existing escape route and are there alternative ways to escape? If you conclude that an escape route will be obstructed, then you will more than likely need a fire suppression system in place.
Kitchens, Living and Dining areas
Open-plan kitchen, living, and dining areas can be prime spots for fires, as fires can develop quickly due to the mixture of flammable furniture and ignition sources. It’s important to consider where the open plan kitchen and living space is, as if it is located on the bottom floor or close to an exit or entrance or linked with an open staircase allowing the spread of smoke to the first floor, then a fire suppression system may be needed.
Most fire suppression systems use a mixture of chemicals and gases, this makes them obsolete for domestic use as they simply aren’t safe, the installation method can be cumbersome, and the storage would be impractical for most homes.
At MCL we believe in innovation and ingenuity that why we are proud to introduce Plumis Automist, an effective water-based fire suppression system that automatically detects and extinguishes fire.
Unlike chemical and gas suppression systems Plumis Automist uses a water mist to combat the fire. Plumis uses up to 90% less water than traditional water sprinklers, this reduces water damage and is better for the environment. Installation and maintenance is simple and efficient as Plumis connects directly to the mains meaning only a small external pump, nozzle, and minimal plumbing is required.
Plumis Automist technology allows it to be used in scenarios in which traditionally water would have been considered a hazard, for example, stovetop fires. Water shouldn’t be used to fight oil-based fires as water will tend to rest below the oil and begin to boil, as the water boils the oil and fire will jump out and spread.
However, all that changes with Plumis as the water mist is so fine that it never gets the opportunity to land on the oil. Instead, the mist will displace the heat and starve the fire from oxygen as the mist pushes smoke down smothering it. Below is a video demonstrating how Plumis can stop an oil pan fire.
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To find out more about building regulations surrounding open plan living spaces click here NIDirect.
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