News and Insights


OCTOBER 12th, 2023

Earlier this week popular Channel 5 series, The Hotel Inspector returned to our screens with expert hotelier Alex Polizzi coming to the rescue of a hotel in Redcar, North Yorkshire, that had fallen foul of building regulations.

Owner Clare was left in a race against time to achieve building control sign off for her 6-bedroom, two storey hotel Believe Boutique - situated above a bar – in order to open for her first paying guests.

Building Control required that the stairways were protected to allow guests to safely be able to escape down the stairs and evacuate via fire exits on the ground floor. To satisfy the building regulations, Clare had to install several strategically placed fire doors on the top floor corridor and create a lobby to protect the master suite.

Working to a tight timescale and an even tighter budget, Clare was concerned about the impact fire doors would have on the light in the corridors as she wanted to show off the vibrant painted murals in the hallway.

In all hotels, guest safety is paramount especially with new regulations around inner rooms coming into force earlier this month for small fee paying accommodation. As building control officer, Mike said: "With every project it’s always a shock if people weren’t anticipating some additional items, but we need to stick by what the regulations say. No matter the cost."

Luckily in Clare’s case she was able to carry out the recommended works to achieve building control sign off and open her new hotel for guests, with only a minor delay. However, this episode has highlighted one of the potential pitfalls that hotels and indeed many home renovations face if they fail to take the building regulations into consideration.

Sometimes expensive and invasive works are the only answer to rectify an issue which can lead to additional costs outside of budget and also potentially dramatically alter the interior of a property. One alternative to fire doors in this case, would have been to fit a fire suppression system to offer protection to the escape route and ensure guest safety.

This approach has been validated by fire engineering research which shows it is reasonable for Plumis’ Automist suppression system to be adopted as part of a performance-based, fire-engineered solution to support two-storey, small paying guest sleeping accommodation incorporating open plan areas.

With hoteliers facing growing cost pressures and staff shortages, it’s important that they take the time to ensure they are on top of the new regulations so that fire safety doesn’t become yet another headache.