Building regulations compliance

The code compliance and space planning problems of an adaptive reuse can be highlighted in the proposed conversion of a large office building to flats. The property, which was built in the late 1930s, is shown in Figure 4.15. Its of Art Deco style and has Grade 2 listed status. The following building elements therefore require minimum intervention (i.e. the original appearance to remain) and retention of the original interior features of the entrance lobby, hall and stairwell. The fenestration and associated features are to be retained. In terms of the building's construction, the steel columns and core as indicated on the plans remain, but associated interior walls, not referred to above, will be removed.

The design process requires firm and explicit briefing criteria that determine the scheme design. In converting buildings, certain comparisons are made regarding space standards and back-up facilities (e.g. car parking provision, concierge/porter/domestic waste disposal). For luxury development the following assumptions and essentials are applied:

• Standards of occupation for the number of people: assume 2-bedroom flats equates 3 bedroom spaces (1 double, 1 single); 1-bedroom flats equates either 2 bed spaces (1 double) or 1 single bedroom.

• Developer's return on capital require maximizing the number of flats but minimizing compromises to upmarket space standards and fit-out. The letting agent's view would always be sought in these circumstances.

• The basement provides car parking, but the number of spaces (refer to the attached plan) maximizes 9 spaces (no double parking plus disabled parking, provision for waste bins, services intakes and central heating boiler).

The proposed plans should work within the assumptions referred to above. Details of influences of the existing building plan (circulation, fenestration, columns configuration) are described after the following main influences determining the planned solutions:

(i) Building Regulations Part B1 Means of Escape.

(ii) Third floor is more than 4.5 m above ground level, so alternative means of escape from each flat would normally be needed. Given that this is a tight site (the building is enclosed at two elevations, the rear and one of the gables), there is no scope to construct an external staircase. The only alternative would be to install another staircase in the building - at the opposite end to the existing. This would be an expensive and disruptive option that would take up valuable domestic space.

(iii) Accommodation is in excess of the standards applied in the Housing Act 1985 (ss. 352, 357), the now defunct Parker Morris Standards (mandatory for public schemes 1967-1981), and the current Housing Corporation floor area bands (1998). See also space standards in Adler (1999).

(iv) Travel distances in protected corridors not exceeding 7.5 m.

(v) Travel distances in flats not exceeding 9 m. Where this cannot be achieved within the existing layout, relaxation of the regulations might be considered. However, any granting of relaxation will come with conditions, usually additional fire precaution measures such as alarms or even sprinklers.

Figures 4.16a-c shows, respectively, the sketch plans detailing:

All flats have alternative means of escape.

Normally general arrangement plans are required to 1:100 scale. Drawings should be clear, properly labelled and indicated main fixtures (sanitary provision, kitchen surfaces, basic room furniture layouts) including door swings, fire doors and protected corridors. Again, any downtakings should be shown in red.

The main relevant sections of legislation determining the construction standards and particularly space planning are contained in the Building Regulations 2000 (as amended), as follows:

Part Bl:

Means of escape

Part E:

Resistance to the passage of sound

Part F:

Ventilation (especially to kitchens and toilets)

Part G:


Part H:

Drainage and waste disposal

Part L:

Conservation of fuel and power

Part N:

Glazing - safety on impact, opening and cleaning

Part P:

Electrical safety

North of the border the following requirements of the Building Standards (Scotland) Regulations 2004 would apply as follows:

Fire (means of escape, fire resistance)

Environment (hygiene, health, ventilation; especially in kitchens and toilets) Safety (safety of glazing in use; electrical installations) Noise (resistance to the passage of unwanted sound) Energy (energy economy and heat retention)

Other legislation relevant to this proposed adaptive reuse may include:

• Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 1994

• Construction Products Regulations 1991 (the quality of materials)

• Construction (Safety, Health and Welfare) Regulations 199S

• Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations 2002

Building Regulation Distance From Sink

Figure 4.15 Existing office block ripe for an adaptive reuse (courtesy of CEM)

Figure 4.15 Existing office block ripe for an adaptive reuse (courtesy of CEM)

Figure 4.15 (Continued)

Schematic layout plan (not to scale)

Schematic layout plan (not to scale)

Figure 4.16a General arrangement drawing - ground-floor plan (courtesy of CEM)

• Disability Discrimination Act 1995

• Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1994

• Housing Act 1955 (standards of accommodation)

• Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 or the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997

• Water Industry Act 1991

Schematic layout plan (not to scale)

Schematic layout plan (not to scale)

Figure 4.16b General arrangement drawing - first floor plan (courtesy of CEM)

The outline specification for the proposed adaptive reuse scheme should include builders' work fulfilling the following design and construction features:

• Part A: Under Part A1 'Loading' in the approved documents, the existing structure (designed for office floor loadings) will more than adequately cope with reduced domestic loads

• Part B: Protected lobbies to flats on third floor, travel distances within flats not exceeding 9 m and protected corridor 7.5 m. Flats located on the third floor are 4.5 m above ground level and require an alternative means of escape. Other issues include the fire resistance (FR) between levels (at least 1 h); 2h between basement and ground floor

Schematic layout plan (not to scale)

Schematic layout plan (not to scale)

Figure 4.16c General arrangement drawing - third floor plan (courtesy of CEM)

• Part E: Upgrading floor specification for impact sound resistance (separating floor) and party wall (separating wall) construction between flats

• Part F: Ventilation to habitable rooms (mechanical to bathrooms and kitchens), available daylight

• Part G: Provision of sanitary, washing and hot water storage

• Part H: Basement refers; bins and provision of sink disposal units including drainage constructions to existing, horizontal service to suspended ceiling voids

• Part L: Replacement window provision (double glazing, thermally broken), insulated overcladding to walls and insulation to refurbished flat roofs

• Part N: Reversible or extended casement hinges for internal window cleaning

• Part P: Electrical system installed and tested by certified by a prescribed competent person (e.g. an approved contractor of the National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting)

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