Residence with problematic smoke vent, Hatch End, London

There are two blocks in a terrace in Hatch End high street. At ground level fronting the pavement there are commercial units in each block. To the rear there is a first floor access deck reached via an external staircase. There are two communal stairwells (one in each block) which serve the existing first floor and second floor flats. Two new studio flats have been recently constructed – one above each existing block at third floor level. Each new flat is accessed off the existing communal area of its respective block and then has a private staircase within it leading to the main accommodation.The height of the entry level to the second and third floor flat is currently only 2.7m above the level of the access deck, but roughly 6.2m above external ground level. Building control had requested a 1m2 automatic vent to the existing stairwell to deal with smoke rising from the first floor flat. This can be achieved on the left hand block as there is an external wall, and a vent can simply be installed if required to this wall. However, the right hand block did not currently have access to an external wall from the stairwell itself.
I met with the architect to achieve an understanding of the layout and discuss options. Most of the construction work was complete. There was much correspondence with building control and a solution was reached with difficulty.

Client: the project architect