Fire Door Issue - Building Regs

IL Cattivo

Distinguished Member
To cut a long story short, we've recently had our Kitchen/Utility room completely gutted, re-positioned and re-fitted from top to bottom.
Our building contractors did a solid job up until the point where it was painful getting them back to do the odd snagging and putting a few things right. They also unexpectantly landed us with a surprise 'extras' invoice beyond that which was quoted from the outset of the job and we re-negotiated this before paying it.

This we thought would be the end of it until I asked them for the Building Control Sign-off Certificate, which we need for when we eventually come to sell the property, as there have been structural changes to the property in the form of new Bi-Fold windows and new double doors to the Kitchen/Hallway. Both requiring steel beams above.

The contractor purchased the double doors we chose and fitted them.

When the Building Control/Regs chap came a couple of weeks back to sign the work off as compliant, no sooner had he walked through the front door he said there was a problem.
Your double doors to the Kitchen/hallway should be Fire Doors and that the Contractor should have known this given the property has 3 floors?
So why were we not advised of this when choosing the doors? Remember, we're not building experts here... just the customer.

So my questions are this..

  • Obviously the Contractor has to put this right and so who foots the bill for it?
  • Since communicating this issue to them they've gone completely radio silent. What are the best channels to go through to start getting them to deal with this?

As far as we (the customer) is concerned, we've parted with enough $ with these people. They should've known their own shizzle and thus we feel they should put it right at their own expense, so just wanted to hear what others in the industry feel about it and if anyone has had a similar experience and how it was resolved?

Much appreciated.
 

chenks

Suspended
is this UK or US building regs?
 

IL Cattivo

Distinguished Member

chenks

Suspended
i'm surprised the fact the property has 3 floor means that the door to the kitchen now needs to be a fire door. i assume if it was only 2 floors it wouldn't need to be?

usually the only time fire doors are require when it's a block of flats and even then it tends only to be the main entry door and not the internals.

did they provide any paperwork or evidence where this requirement is documented?

regarding the contractor - they sound like a dodgy crew with regards to the "extras", so trying to get them to respond or even do anything about this may be slim to none.

it may end up costing you more chasing and trying to enforce them to fix it than just arranging it yourself.
 

IL Cattivo

Distinguished Member
According to the Building Control bloke who came round to inspect, any property with more than 2 floors requires fire doors throughout the property to ALL rooms. All of our other doors within the house appear to be fire door constructed and he confirmed so when I went around with him and inspected them all.

The reason being is if a fire were to start in and engulf the kitchen on the GF quickly, the only safe chance of escape from the two floors above is through the hallway and front door. Without a fire door in place between the kitchen and hallway, you would have much less time and chance of escaping the building through its safest route.

As it stands, a fire would quite literally take the two current double doors down in seconds and backdraft through its gaps into the hallway, thus blocking the escape route to the floors above.
 

chenks

Suspended
The reason being is if a fire were to start in and engulf the kitchen on the GF quickly, the only safe chance of escape from the two floors above is through the hallway and front door. Without a fire door in place between the kitchen and hallway, you would have much less time and chance of escaping the building through its safest route.

yeah i see the reasoning, but then i guess a standard 2 floor house would have the same issue.
if there was a fire in my kitchen and it broke thru the kitchen door then it would block access to the bottom of the stairs (kitchen door is opposite the stairs), and thus block escape. the only escape would then be the upstairs windows.

the problem will now be trying to get the contractor to even respond to you, never mind do anything to fix it.
 

IL Cattivo

Distinguished Member
yeah i see the reasoning, but then i guess a standard 2 floor house would have the same issue.
if there was a fire in my kitchen and it broke thru the kitchen door then it would block access to the bottom of the stairs (kitchen door is opposite the stairs), and thus block escape. the only escape would then be the upstairs windows.

the problem will now be trying to get the contractor to even respond to you, never mind do anything to fix it.
True, but it is all about time and the extra flight of stairs to negotiate to get out.

Responding to it and getting them to be proactive about putting it right is going to be the most challenging aspect here.

Personally, I feel I shouldn't be paying a single penny for their mistake.
 

chenks

Suspended
did the original quote state fire doors?

if it didn't then i'd deem it reasonable for you to bare the cost of the difference, but not the full of cost of doors.

if they are reputable contractor they should, at least, be willing to open a discussion about it. if they won't even do that then the chances of getting anything out of them is probably slim.
 

IL Cattivo

Distinguished Member
The original quote didn't state fire doors, but in the opinion of the Building Control bloke should have as its common knowledge in the industry for a building with 3 floors.

Their work has breached building regs.
 

brunation

Well-known Member
This we thought would be the end of it until I asked them for the Building Control Sign-off Certificate, which we need for when we eventually come to sell the property, as there have been structural changes to the property in the form of new Bi-Fold windows and new double doors to the Kitchen/Hallway. Both requiring steel beams above.

My recollection is that we apply for a building warrant in Scotland - so did you have any drawings to submit regarding the structural changes?

if it didn't then i'd deem it reasonable for you to bare the cost of the difference, but not the full of cost of doors.
+1
 

IL Cattivo

Distinguished Member
My recollection is that we apply for a building warrant in Scotland - so did you have any drawings to submit regarding the structural changes?


+1
Yep, my wife's friend is a qualified architect with 20+ years of experience and she drew up the plans/drawings which both the building contractor and the structural engineer, that the building contractor used, had in their possession when the property was inspected about 2 months prior to the actual work starting.

Neither picked up on it apparently.
 

IL Cattivo

Distinguished Member
Was the architect engaged commercially?
Not sure I understand that question or find its relevance in the matter?

We needed some building work done, we used the architect's services for a couple of design recommendations and to do the plans/drawings and then those plans were asked for by the building contractor and structural engineer. At which point both were happy with what they saw.
 

chenks

Suspended
I think the question meant, was the architect work done as a favour as a friend or paid work with you as their client?

Probably to clarify where the chain of liability follows
 

IL Cattivo

Distinguished Member
I think the question meant, was the architect work done as a favour as a friend or paid work with you as their client?

Probably to clarify where the chain of liability follows
The chain of liability appears to be drifting off course if you ask me...??
Do I also need to bring the landscape gardener into the mix?
 

chenks

Suspended
Don’t shoot the wrong person, was only saying what I thought the question meant, wasn’t me that asked it
 

brunation

Well-known Member
At which point both were happy with what they saw.
Who did what was asked.

The chain of liability appears to be drifting off course if you ask me...??
Do I also need to bring the landscape gardener into the mix?
Posted on Avforums so why not. See where this is going?
 

IL Cattivo

Distinguished Member
The architect is not at liberties to list what materials are to be used for the job, that is the job of the builder, unless I missed where the architect listed what screws to use, the thickness of plasterboard sheets and what bifold doors should be installed, that was all left for and agreed for the 'builder' to source as part of their work.... The architect drew up the plans. Plans are a drawing not a step by step guide on how the builder should do their job.

To answer the question, the architect was engaged on a commercial basis (paid) with a discount as we know her as a friend.

Can we now move on from the architect? Thanks.
 

neilball

Well-known Member
It does matter spending on the contract you have with the builder. It could be construed that your architect is the designer and therefore liable for the design meeting building regs. Or it could be you tendered with a design and build contract, that required the builder to take on responsibility for the design being compliant in all aspects. Or if you engaged the architect then went off and tendered the build yourself then you might be considered the designer and therefore are responsible for the issues. It’s not a black and white unless you have a contract that confirms the builder is to take on these responsibilities.l from the outset as part of their contractual obligations.
 

IL Cattivo

Distinguished Member
It does matter spending on the contract you have with the builder. It could be construed that your architect is the designer and therefore kia or for the design meeting building regs, unless the contract was design and build, and required the builder to take on responsibility for the design being compliant. Or if you engaged the architect then went off and tendered the build yourself then you might be considered the designer and therefore are responsible for the issues. It’s not a black and white issue unless you have a contract that confirms the builder is to take on these responsibilities.
Our contract with the builder states that they will source and provide the necessary materials suitable for the work being quoted.

When I queried our architect on the subject she had never heard of a builder requiring building regs info from an architect. In fact, one thing builders detest most is being told.. how to build... especially by a designer or architect.

Our builder did offer to get an architect of their own to do the design and drawings, however, we found it would be cheaper to use our friend rather than incur their architect's markup. Once the drawings were completed we handed them over to the builder and structural engineer who were happy with their content and had no questions or qualms about proceeding with the work using them.

The fact that the builder has gone radio silent over the matter, to me, speaks volumes as to who is at fault here. They haven't even attempted to pass the buck onto another party in the chain?

Common knowledge is common knowledge in my book.

They screwed up.

What I would ideally like is for someone with a similar experience to pipe in and let me know what course of action they took to successfully resolve their issue?

Thanks
 

chenks

Suspended
Seek advice from the accreditation body that the contractor is signed up to.

The devil will be in the detail and the exact wording of the contract between you and all the parties involved
 

IL Cattivo

Distinguished Member
I have a feeling I know why they've gone radio silent.

Most likely as a result of them having to return on a few previous occasions to put right..

1) A leak coming from the ceiling in the kitchen that was part of the original build process and wasn't tested properly prior to plasterboarding, skimming & painting the ceiling.

2) Plumbed in a new downstairs rad in the Kitchen to the upstairs CH Zone.. o_O

3) Made a pig's ear of installing the extractor fan and the damage it caused to the adjacent ceiling and wall, which in the end I had to finish putting right myself.

4) Threw away a weatherproof wooden box that protected our outside housed water softer when they were told on several occasions to keep it, so one of their chipies had to rebuild another one!

All of the aforementioned has no doubt eaten into the profits of the job and any further work and new materials are only going to put the job in the red and potentially lose them money.
 

chenks

Suspended
All info that probably should have been mentioned at the start, it helps form the full story

You probably have 2 options now if they won’t communicate with you

Spend money chasing the contractor and might never get any resolution and end up even more out of pocket

Get the issue resolved with another reputable contractor at your own cost

You could try trading standards to see if that pokes them into a response, but would you really want a contractor with a grudge doing any more work for you?
 

NorvernRob

Distinguished Member
We’ve recently had plans drawn up by an architect for a loft conversion which will make our house 3 floors. All required fire doors are shown on the plans, plus the materials and specs required for the project to meet building regs.
 

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