Removing doorway to a staircase to basement

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    Removing doorway to a staircase to basement

    My niece was told by a builder that she 'wouldn't be allowed' to remove the internal doorway and a bit of attached panelling in order to expose the stone stairway to her basement from the ground floor hallway of her house. (She is an OO and does not intend to let it out). She just wants to make more use of the basement floor (which has French windows out to a garden - house is built on a hill).

    The door frame and panelling are built into the area under the 'main' house staircase to first floor, but do not support anything structurally as far as we can see.

    Obviously we told her to contact a Building Inspector to make sure, as the builder did not give a reason, but we were curious as to why there might be a problem. Presumably safety issues? But at present the staircase is behind a door - you open it and risk breaking your neck. Surely it would be better to have it exposed and better lit?

    Your thoughts are welcome.
    'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

    #2
    As no one else will talk to you MTG - maybe it is a fire issue?

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      #3
      "Not allowed" is one of those urban myths where principles are turned into rules.

      There are 2 areas to consider:

      1: fire spread/containment and means of escape

      2: Risk of falling.

      It is hard to advise on the forum as a crucial factor is the structure layout and use of the actual property.

      A converted basement used as part of the house with ample means of escape is treated differently to a windowless storage area. They may require that there is door(s) in the basement area.

      What I think would be the principal deciding factor, is what are the risks of someone falling into the stairwell? Modern construction, conversion and alteration would not allow an opening straight onto a stairway.

      We converted ours some time ago and I had to change the layout of the stairs and a small landing at the top so that building control would accept it without a door.
      Based on the information posted, I offer my thoughts.Any action you then take is your liability. While commending individual effort, there is no substitute for a thorough review of documents and facts by paid for professional advisers.

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        #4
        Obviously there is no planning permission needed to remove the doorway and I doubt that there will be building control approval needed either.

        One phone call to the council's building control section will answer that for you, unless you want to read through the Building Control Regulations for your self.

        As a matter of policy you should never accept verbal comments until you are provided with the direct reference where it is set out in writing.

        If there is nothing structural about this door frame, it seems unlikely that you cannot take it down as soon as you want to.

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          #5
          Thank you very much for all these replies.
          'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

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