Author Topic: Restricted Occupancy  (Read 676 times)

Offline GB

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Restricted Occupancy
« on: November 06, 2019, 09:38:11 AM »
Dear forum members, can I seek your opinion on a project I am dealing with.

I have a 2 storey building where the 1st floor has been purchased by a church for their sole use. The church own and occupy the 1st floor of the building only which is split into 2 wings with a central main protected staircase.

At present there are 2No additional protected stairs, 1 on each wing which is the secondary means of escape for each wing, 1 of which is fitted with an AOV.

It is proposed to install a category L1 fire alarm system with additional strobes throughout the development.

The church in order to improve accessibility of the building, want to remove one of the wing secondary MoE (the non-ventilated stair) with the provision of a platform lift and restrict the occupancy to less than 60 with management procedures in one wing of the building. The other wing (the main worship area) retains 2No protected exit routes. There are a minimum of 2no fire wardens present when the building is in use with an average attendance within the whole building less than 80 on any given sunday.

The BCO has stated that they won't accept that the church will adhere to the restricted occupancy and have insisted on retaining the secondary escapes. Travel distances are all within BS 9999:2017 which is the guidance document used. There is no other location to install a platform lift.

The development is in Scotland with a previous ministerial view of accepting a restricted occupancy within a retail unit with a single protected escape route.

The FFL is below 7.5m.

Do any forum members have a view on this - either way would be appreciated - or experience of a restricted occupancy being viable and accepted?

The church has written records of maintenance of FS elements, a current FRA and training records for their stewards.

Offline lyledunn

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Re: Restricted Occupancy
« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2019, 10:01:43 AM »
Restricting occupancy to fit the MOE used to be a common approach. I say ?used to be? as it would appear that it is increasingly a hard case to make. It would seem that in your case you are diminishing fire safety in preference of disabled access. Removing a perfectly functional means of escape and  replacing it with a management plan doesn?t seem a sensible approach.

Offline GB

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Re: Restricted Occupancy
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2019, 08:52:51 AM »
Thank you for your reply.

Being slightly provocative - often restricted occupancy is undertaken for available exit width e.g. bar, nightclub or restaurant which is accepted (reference your recent post).

We don't ask these premises to provide additional exits to meet the occupancy capacity of the room, we simply restrict the numbers to fit the available exit width. So from a social view point is profitability more important than accessibility?

Unfortunately text doesn't convey tone (excluding emojis!) - my question is not a retort rather a philosophical one for a Friday;-)

Offline Crusher

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Re: Restricted Occupancy
« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2019, 01:25:05 PM »
More likely to do with those premises you mentioned also requiring a licence. Always a useful lever when overcrowding is suspected.

''often restricted occupancy is undertaken for available exit width e.g. bar, nightclub or restaurant which is accepted''

Offline GB

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Re: Restricted Occupancy
« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2019, 01:56:13 PM »
Thank you crusher and you make a very good point in relation to the licensing - however the same BCO has accepted a restricted occupancy for a single exit in a retail and a leisure premise which don't require a license.

Offline kml

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Re: Restricted Occupancy
« Reply #5 on: November 20, 2019, 11:32:33 AM »
Is there any scope for creating a bypass at the top of the central stair so that it can be used as a secondary means of escape from the side losing the stair?